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II ! 






Glimpses of the Past 

The Pattern page 9 

Asiatic Motif 13 

European Quest 9 - 15 

Far Horizons * &3 


China, Past and Present [1928-1931] 

Into the Middle Ages'* 27 

Patricians and Proletarians ' 4 

Fields of Life and Death . 4 6 

Terror in Shanghai 54 

Lu Hsfln 60 

Southern Episodes . 66 

Shanghai Guerrilla Warfare 7* . 


Imperialism and the Revolution [1931-1936] 

March of Death 76 

The "Rights of Man 83 

Motor-Car No. 1469 v 86 

Soviet Interlude 93 


The United Front and War [1936-1937] 

Sian Incident - 96 

Men and Ideas - 109 

; <Ebe Won-Hearted i|8 

News Blockade-Runners 126 

. ISO 

.The Last Days of Hankow [1938] 

in 144 

? Hankow ; M 


In Guerrilla Land [1938-1939] 

New Land page 173 

The "New Fourth'* 181 

Doctors Need "Teaching Material" 187 

The Women Take a Hand 190 

The Story of a Farm 194 

Men in Transition: the Fiftieth Army 198 

The Hoofs of the Japanese 205 

Crossing the Yangtze ' 210 


Through Central China [Late Autumn 1939] 

Commander Chang Yun-ee and the Fourth Detachment 221 

The Guerrilla Wounded 229 

Kwangsi Base 234 

Anhwei: the Past vs. the Future 241 

Anhwei Intrigue 248 

Discord 254 

Song of Desolation 260 

Man of God 268 

My Friend the Nun 272 


Winter Offensive [1939-1940] 

Swords for the Japanese 279 

The Co-operatives 283 

"Tell Your Countrymen " 286 

Winter Soldiers in Hupeh 297 

The Commander Who Sang 301 

General with a Conscience 308 

Mutiny 315 


With the Guerrillas Again [1940] 

With the Guerrillas Again 318 

My Chinese Son 321 

Storm Guerrillas and Salt-Miners 330 

Traitors and Patriots 334 

Farewell ! 338 


Chungking and After [1940-1941] 

Chungking ' 343 

The Medical Corps Fights On 349 

Hong Kong 353 




X HERE ARE TALES, long whispered in my family, which, if true, 
explain the two strains that mingled when my father and mother mar- 
ried. One strain my mother's was of a hard-working, gentle, and 
devout folk. The other consisted of rebels, wanderers, tellers of tall tales, 
singers of songs. , 

My father eloped with my mother before she was of age. Her father, 
John, found them in the home of my father's sister, Mary. Aunt Mary 
was a widow with many children, but a woman of unusual capacity and 
determination. Her eyes fell approvingly on Grandfather John, a frail, 
gentle man resembling pictures of Jesus Christ. John's wife was still alive, 
and, to judge by a faded tin-type, very beautiful. But she died shortly 
after, following a long illness, and my grandfather married Aunt Mary. 
In the small, drab villages and isolated farm-houses of northern Missouri 
little rumours often grew to gargantuan proportions. The gossips 
specialized most of all in the gruesome, and more than one farm woman 
was thereafter seen wagging her head and heard talking of the strange 
things that were supposed to have happened in my grandfather's house 
of evil widows . . . and poor ailing wives . . . and poison. . . . 

Finally Grandfather wasted away and died of tuberculosis. Mary 
cared for him with infinite tenderness, uttering never a harsh word at his 
endless exactions, warning her many children, and his, to behave as she 
did. There lingers in my memory a vision of this tall, strong woman, 
sitting or kneeling by his bedside, engaged in low conversation or silent 

So John had died, said the gossips, shaking their heads knowingly. 
What else could you expect, when, as everyone knew, he had spent his 
declining years walking the floor complaining that his first wife's spirit 
haunted him? As he lay dying, rumour ran, he wanted to cleanse hi& 
soul of the sin of poisoning his first wife, but Mary had smothered his 
confession by placing her hand across his mouth! Anything could be 
expected of that big woman, who caifae from God only knew where and 
could do anything from curing diseases with herbs to managing a big 
farm and rearing more than a dozen children ! 

If Aunt Mary had lived in an earlier period, her abilities might have 
caused her to be burned as a witch. Instead, she was well over ninety 
before she laid down her corncob pipe for the last time. People said she 
sped around the country in a Ford until her dying day, her white hair 
flying, her pipe in her mouth. She was so tall that when she died a 
special coffin had to be built for her. I have not yet heard just how many 

A2 q 

men were needed to carry the coffin, but by the time I get around to 
investigating the story, I'm sure the number will be fabulous. I've heard 
it said by the gentle branch of our family that Mary is most certainly not 
taking any back seat in the Hereafter. * 

All my mother's people died young which, considering their goodness, 
was only natural. On the other hand, all my father's people, save one 
uncle who turned Christian missionary, lived to a ripe old age. The two 
family strains, meeting in me, made my spirit a battlefield across which 
a civil war raged endlessly. 

When I was very young, my father dragged us from northern Missouri 
to southern Colorado, where Rockefeller's Colorado Fuel & Iron Com- 
pany owned everything but the air. My father went to this region to 
make his fortune, but fell victim to a system the fruits of which were 
poverty, disease, and ignorance for the miners. 

We lived a primitive life in the camps, but I now understand that our 
intellectual poverty was far worse than our physical condition. When I. 
try to recollect the impact of so-called cultural influences, I can recall 
only Scotch and English folk-songs, cowboy songs, and such ballads as 
those in praise of Jesse James all of them sung by my father. I do not 
remember hearing my mother sing ; she was too unhappy. 

Until I was fifteen years old I knew little of the world beyond that 

Rockefeller domain of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. 

My father did unskilled labour and drank to forget his hopes, and my 

mother worked intermittently as a wash-woman and a keeper of boarders. 

We Smedley children there were five of us somehow managed to get 

to the poor local primary schools. But I never finished grade school and 

never attended a high school. Most high-school graduates of today 

inspire no regret in me, but I have always believed that had I had some 

basic knowledge of science, mathematics, literature, and language, I 

would have been better equipped to meet life. I have long felt that the 

poverty and ignorance of my youth were the tribute which I, like millions 

of others, paid to "private interests". 

The schools my brothers and sisters and I attended were perhaps no 
more boring than most. However, my thinking was not to be disciplined, 
and not all the king's horses and all the king's men could teach me gram- 
mar or arithmetic. Even in later years my efforts to learn languages ended 
in dismal failure, although in the case of German I managed to absorb 
what I needed or whatever sounded beautiful or powerful. If I disliked a 
person, my mind closed and I could learn nothing from him. So I took 
from schools and from life what I found interesting, not what people 
thought good for me. But my mother and a red-haired 1 woman school- 
teacher in Tercio, a mining camp, must have regarded me with hope, 
for they kept urging me to get an education. Education seemed to consist 
in reading many books, but just which I did not know. For years I groped, 
reading anything between covers, often understanding hardly a sentence, 

but believing mystically that the key to knowledge lay buried in words. 
My reading covered everything from trashy romance to a ghastly book 
on school law and one called Behaviourist Psychology. , 

The nearest I ever came to the classics was a large volume of something 
called "poetry". Because it was printed on very thin paper, it quite 
naturally hung from a string in a privy. A man by the name of Shake- 
speare seemed to have written it, but I could make neither head nor tail 
of it. In later years I often read of men who received their first noble 
impulses from contacts with great minds; I was in my early twenties 
before I learned who Shakespeare was, and in my forties before I read 
his plays. In the mining camps he had made no impression whatso- 
ever, and I returned the volume of thin paper to its nail on the privy 

I disliked so many things in life and received so many humiliations 
from rich little girls that my teachers used to keep me after school and 
lecture me on the bourgeois virtues. It was in vain. I fought boys with 
jimson weeds and rocks, and nothing could make a little lady of me. 
When I was nine my mother put me out to work washing dishes and 
caring for squawling babies. I was later promoted to stripping tobacco 
leaves in a cigar store, but I dawdled so much over my work that I was 
fired. One employer told me that I was a bad worker because I read too 
many books. "Here's your wages for the week, and you needn't come 
back/' he said. He gave me two dollars and a half. For years after that I 
did all kinds of unskilled labour. 

Religion is sometimes considered a cultural influence. What I have 
known of it has made me content that I was not carefully trained in its 
principles. The virtue of submission to injustice, of rendering unto 
Caesar that which Caesar didanot produce himself, made no impression on 
me. Beyond that, the belief in immortality has always seemed cowardly 
to me. When very young I learned that all things die, and all that we 
wish of good must be won on this earth or not at all. 

When I was sixteen, my mother lay down and died from hard labour, 
under-nourishment, and a disease which she had no money to cure. My 
father fell on his knees and wept dramatically, then rifled her old tin 
trunk. With the forty-five dollars he found hidden between the quilt 
patches he went to the saloon and got drunk with the boys. My elder 
sister had just died in childbed, leaving a baby boy, and I was thus the 
eldest child, with responsibility for this baby, as well as for my younger 
sister and two brothers. 

Had I been more like my mother and less like my father, I would have 
accepted this bttrden as inevitable. But I resented my mother's suffering 
and refused to follow in her footsteps. I knew nothing of the world save 
the tales related by cowboys, miners, and teamsters. I knew that Columbus 
had sailed the seas and discovered a new continent and that my fore* 
fathers had fought in the American Revolution. The clatter of the hoofs 


I was a woman, and women were expected to marry and, if possible, 
"marry money'*. If you were not interested in marriage or money, you 
were doomed. As I saw it, I could hope to continue only as I was 
slaving by day and striving desperately at night for some kind of meagre 
education. And what after that? A shabby hall bedroom for the rest of 
my days? 

I rejected such a life, yet I .could envision no other. A World War had 
just ended and there was a sort of peace. The German Republic had 
come to life, but was held in pawn by the victors. The Russian Revolu- 
tion had taken place, but the Russiar; people were still fighting on more 
than a dozen fronts against invading armies of World War victors, 
including one from my own country. The Russian people were learning 
the most brutal lesson in human history that only by their own armed 
might could they have a civilization of their own choosing. 

A Communist Party was being formed in New York, but I did not 
join it. I knew many of its leaders and had read books or articles written 
by some of them. For years I listened to Communists with sympathy 
and in later years in China I gave them my active support, but I could 
never place my mind and life unquestioningly at the disposal of their 
leaders. I never believed that I myself was especially wise, but I could 
not become a mere instrument in the hands of men who believed that 
they held the one and only key to truth. 

Because of this I was often attacked from two sides: believers in 
capitalism called me a Communist, a Red, or an Anarchist ; Communists 
called me an individualist, an idealist, or a bourgeois democrat. . . One 
American woman Communist long delighted in dubbing me a "Smed- 

One day as the year 1919 drew to a dose, I took my place in a line at 
the office of a shipping company on the New York water-front and made 
application for a job as a stewardess on an old Polish-American freighter 
bound for Europe. It carried deck and third-class passengers, and another 
girl and I were hired to care for them. I had no definite destination, no 
clear aims, no connections with any organization save a weak link with 
Indian exiles who lived in Europe and published a small newspaper 
from.Berlin. I merely entertained the hope that I could find them, live 
a short time in Europe, visit the Soviet Union, and, if possible, find work 
on some ship sailing for India. Whatever might result from this venture, 
I would at least see something of the earth on which I had been born. , 
But live the life of a cabbage I would not. 



IN DANZIG HARBOUR I deserted the freighter and journeyed to 
Berlin to look for the small office maintained by Indian exiles. The first 
person I met there was the Indian revolutionary leader Virendranath 
Chattopadhyaya. In New York I had often heard of him as one who had 
helped form an Indian Government-in-exile and build up a world-wide 
network of Indian revolutionary activity* In fact, it was because of him 
and his colleagues that I had been imprisoned. 

I found the personality and pastjife of Virendranath Chattopadhyaya 
compelling. In a very short time I had entered into a union with him; 
it was not a legal marriage, but I bore his name and was known as his 
wife. It was to last for nearly eight years, but became so complex that 
it tended only to aggravate my sick state of mind. 

Whether or not I loved him I do not really know. Many years after I 
had left Viren I remember writing to an American friend that "to my 
astonishment and resentment Viren remains the centre of my emotional 
life, and if he were in danger I suppose I would walk barefoot around 
the world to help him. Yet I would not live with him for a day." That 
was long agd, and time again proved the-great healer. That he loved me 
there is no doubt. Neither I nor others understood why, for he had little 
interest in women. 

Thirteen years before he met me, Viren had married an Irish Catholic 
girl. Because he was a pagan who rejected all her efforts to convert him, 
she bought p. special dispensation from the Pope to marry him. After the 
ceremony she informed him that a condition of the marriage was that 
any issue was to be Catholic. They quarrelled and parted, she becoming 
a nun in some hidden English convent and he trying for years to have the 
marriage annulled. He failed and we were never legally married. As a 
result my American citizenship was twice challenged in later years by the 
British Secret Service, which claimed, with no good intentions, that I 
was a British subject. To a shocked American consular official in China 
I once explained the situation thus : 

"My husband was married to a Catholic nun and for this reason 
could not marry me. You may call me a concubine if you will, but not a 
British subject" 

The official threw up his hands in despair* 

Virendranath" was the epitome of the secret Indian revolutionary 
movement, and perhaps its most brilliant protagonist abroad. He was 
nearly twenty y^ars my senior, with a mind as sharp and ruthless as a 
sabre. He was thin and dark, with a mass of black hair turning grey at 
the temples, and a face that had something fierce about it He might 
easily have been taken for a southern European, a Turk, or a Persian. 
To me he seemed something like thunder, lightning, and rain; and 
wherever he had sojourned in Europe or England, he had been just 

about that to the British. His hatred for the islanders who had subjugated 
his country knew no bounds. 

The foundation of his emotional life had been laid in the feudal 
Mohammedan state of Hyderabad. To this he had added a quarter of a 
century of intellectual training in England, Eurone, and the Near East. 
His was a famous Brahmin family abounding in acts, singers, educators, 
and scientists. One of his sisters was the poetess and national leader 
Sarojini Naidu, and his younger brother was married to Kamala Devi, 
who later became a great leader. By race the family was Hindu, by 
culture a mixture of Hinduism, Mohammedanism, and the best of 
English liberalism. Viren's father had been one of the first Brahmins 
to defy caste laws by going to England and later to Germany to 
study science. An outcast, he was forced to emigrate to the Moslem 
state of Hyderabad, where he became a pioneer in modern university 

Viren had been educated by his father, by Moslem scholars and 
English tutors. He grew up speaking Hindustani, English, a smattering 
of German, and the court language of the Moslem world, Persian. 
Throughout his childhood he had heard his mother a poetess and an 
advocate of the emancipation of women referred to with contempt by 
Moslems, and this had generated in him emotions which he had never 
been able to reconcile. This was only one of the many conflicts that went 
on within him and made his mind and emotional life remind me of one 
of those Hindu temples in south India repository of all the cultural 
movements of the ages. 

In Heidelberg and Jena Viren had pursued the study of comparative 
philology. He spoke English like a ruling-class Englishman and had 
learned French, German, Swedish, and some Italian and Spanish. He 
had lived in Sweden for a few years and had not only mastered the 
language but gone on to study Icelandic. When he and I went with 
an Indian delegation to the Soviet Union in 1921, shortly after my 
arrival in Germany, he soon assimilated Russian and in his leisure time 
sought out men from Lithuania or Iceland, or haunted the encamp- 
ments of gypsies, in order to compare their languages with ancient 

Like Nehru and many other men of the upper classes of India, Viren 
had absorbed British traditions of liberty. These he had come to apply 
to his own country a practice that enraged most Englishmen. He and 
his colleagues, some of them caste-ridden, orthodox Brahmins, were 
among the early nationalist terrorists of India as they were also among 
India's early educators, scientists, artists, labour organizers, and, later, 
Communists. They hunted British rulers of India and Egypt with pistol, 
bomb, and knife. Some had been shot, some hanged, others imprisoned 
for life. *In whatever sections of the world Indians gathered they were to 
be found. 

Each summer, when groups of Indian students left England to spend 
their vacations on the Continent, one goal of pilgrimage was always 
Virendranath's home. Of this they never dared speak, and some even 
preferred not to recall their conversations with him, for he made violent 
attacks on Hindu caste prejudices and Moslem superstitions. He would 
eat pork in the presence of Moslems and beef in front of Hindus. To 
Hindus he spoke of Hinduism as a "cow-dung religion", and he made the 
adherents of both religions writhe under the sting of his tongue. He 
taunted them by asserting that even in poetry they learned not from 
India, but from England, and tjiat they believed England was the 
paradise to which their souls would go after death. His contempt for 
Indians aspiring to official posts under the British Government was 
boundless. He warned his students that only clerks watched time-clocks 
or lived an orderly, respectable life. When told that one must live, he 
would answer in the words jrfVoltajre: "I jgn^t see the necessity." 

He practised whatTie preached. He never possessed more than one 
suit of clothing, which I was constantly darning, patching, and pressing. 
Nor did he care what he ate. When he had money, he gave it to anyone 
in need, so that we were forever in debt. Money was merely a means of 
working for the independence of his country. His attitude towards it had 
been formed by the great joint families of India, and in particular by 
that caste of Brahmin teachers and scholars who gave their knowledge 
freely. Years later I found the same attitude among those intellectuals of 
China who also came from families in which the clan cared for the 

Virendranath turned more and more to the study of Marxism as a 
means of gaining independence for India ; and he eventually became a 
Communist Party member. I always wondered just what new design was 
added to the Hindu temple of his mind by this act. I could never imagine 
him being regimented by any political party or following " lines " of 
thought and action. His mind took the whole world as its province and 
drew nourishment from every age. 

When Viren and I began life together, two eras and two cultures met. 
I was an American working woman, the product of a distorted commercial 
civilization, he a high-caste Indian with a cultivated, labyrinthine 
Brahmin mind and a British classical education. Though he hated 
everything British, he had an even deeper contempt for an American 
capitalism which judged all things by their money value. His mind 
was modern, but his emotional roots were in Hinduism and Islam. 

Like a storm, Jhe existed according to his nature, absorbing, influencing 
everything he touched. Our way of life was of his choosing, not mine; 
bur home a small edition of that of a great joint family of India. Any 
Indian who became ill was brought to our home and nursed by me, and 
on one occasion I had two of them at once. Moslems and Hindus of 
every caste streamed through it as through a railway station or a hotel. 

Students came directly from their boats, carting all their bedding and 
cooking utensils. Some wore weird clothing. One student bought him- 
self a woman's straw hat with a bunch of grapes hanging down the side; 
it looked somewhat like a turban, and only with difficulty could we induce 
him to cease wearing it. 

We were desperately poor, and because Viren had no possessions, I 
sold everything I owned in order to get money. Just as the year 1923 
began, protests from the British caused the German Government to 
order Viren to leave the country. We met the problem by moving re- 
peatedly and changing our name. Bi\jt our debts and difficulties seemed 
to increase by geometric progression. 

Whenever things seemed about to improve, new problems would turn 
up* Sometimes Moslems with their wives still half in purdah came to live 
with us. At other times we visited some who were very much out of, 
purdah^ including, for example, the Moslem leader Mohammed Ali 
Jinnah and his wife. Cold, sleek, cruel-faced, Jinnah was a great land- 
lord who had married a Parsi woman, daughter of a millionaire Bombay 
factory-owner. Certainly Mrs. Jinnah could never be accused of living 
m purdah. 

I was harassed by domestic difficulties. Hindu and Moslem religious 
festivals were sometimes celebrated in our home, with dozens of men 
sitting in a circle on the floor. In the manner of India, no man could be 
turned away hungry. The cooking and preparation for dinners were 
therefore endless, and the very walls of our home seemed to be 
permeated with the odour of curry. 

Viren thrived on company, but I began to wilt and sink under the 
complexity and poverty of our life. Everyone understood and loved 
Viren; few understood me. To them I was a queer creature who grew 
ever more strange as indeed I did. 

I was with Virendranath and witnessed the power of his personality 
when his youngest sister, Suhasini, came from Oxford to see him for the 
first time. She had been born after he left India, and her mother had 
sung her to sleep with lullabies about her exiled brother. The British 
Government had forced her father to leave Hyderabad and live in 
Calcutta under perpetual house-arrest, and her childhood had been 
overshadowed by tragedy. British police were forever raiding their home, 
tearing up pillows, and disembowelling Suhasini's dolls to see if her 
father had hidden messages or codes from his exiled son. The old man 
had died a prisoner. 

Suhasini was a musician and singer, a woman of striding beauty and 
noble bearing. When she stood before her brother for the first time, 
neither spoke, and I saw Suhasini trembling. Viren's face was tense with 
inner struggle ; it was the first time in a quarter of a century that one of 
his family had come to share his life, and Suhasini must have reminded 
him of the tragedy of his father, his country, and his own long years of 
18 , 

exile. In later years Suhasini returned to India as a Communist and 
labour organizer, earning her living as a singer. Her Communism had 
sprung from Viren's influence. But it was years before she would bow 
her handsome aristocratic head and meet on a plane of equality with 
men of lesser station. Thus it was that member after member of Viren's 
family, people of the highest caste and culture, broke the Brahmin bonds 
of privilege and placed their trained minds at the service of their country 
or of the dispossessed. 

Perhaps my respect and admiration for such men and women robbed 
me of objectivity. As I saw Virjn, his white-hot passion for liberty 
seemed never to wane ; it communicated itself to every one of his country- 
men who knew him. It was, in fact, the majesty of his life and intellect 
that bound me to him even in our most unhappy moments and long after 
our marriage had become a formality. - 

The circumstances of my youth, combined with the endless difficulties 
of my life with Virendranath in Germany, drove me almost to the verge 
of insanity. Twice I left him and sought rest and recovery in the Bavarian 
Alps, where I planned to continue my interrupted journey to India. 
Friends in London tried to secure a visa for me to enter India, but they 
failed because of my imprisonment in America in connection with the 
Indian exiles, my articles in the Indian Press, and my association with 
Virendranath. My desire to live ebbed and I lay ill for nearly three 
years. For whole days I remained in a coma, unable to move or speak, 
longing only for oblivion. Nor could the best nerve specialists of Germany 
cure me. More than death I feared insanity, and the terror of this 
possibility haunted my very dreams. Once I attempted suicide, but 
succeeded only in injuring myself. 

When all else failed, I was introduced to a woman nerve specialist, a 
former associate of Freud. An alienist in the Berlin courts, she was also 
connected with the University of Berlin. My psychoanalysis began, and 
continued torturously for two years. During this infinite suffering one 
image haunted my sleeping and my waking : I held a small Chinese vase 
in my outstretched palm and contemplated its beauty. A crack kept 
growing down the side, the vase broke, and the fragment rolled out of 
my outstretched palm. It seemed a symbol of my life. As I grew better, 
the image returned less often, yet seemed to hover, a menace, in the 

As my health returned, I began teaching English to university students 
and took up again the study of Indian history. I became a teacher in the 
English Seminar of the University of Berlin and, upon occasion, lectured 
before the seminar oh Indian history. When plans were made for an 
English theatre in Berlin, I coached actors and actresses, and in this way 
came into contact with the theatrical world. One of the friends I made 
httre was Tilla Durieux, who was so often cast in psychological studies. 
She was one of the strangest of German actresses, but quite learned, 

having one of the best libraries of anyone in her profession. In a way she 
became my teacher in literature, architecture, music, and the theatre. 
We spent one summer together in Austria, where we attended the Mozart 
Festspiel in Salzburg, then wandered through Austria and southern 
Germany, visiting historic cities and old cathedrals. 

As a kind of counterthrust against growing Communism, the Hitler 
movement was rising in Germany, but to most of us it seemed just 
another fad that would soon die. Since I had to earn my living and 
struggle for health, I was too burdened to study it closely. Once when 
Vircndranath had come to Bavaria to induce me to return to him and 
we were on our way back to Berlin we paused in Munich to attend 
Wagner's Ring. By chance one evening we followed a small crowd and 
found ourselves in a hall where Hitler was speaking. This event made 
so little impression on me that I recall nothing but Hitler's frothy 

As my health improved I decided to shoulder another burden: at- 
tendance at the university and study leading to the Ph.D. degree. I did 
not have the academic qualifications, but by a law under the German 
Republic men and women could produce research work which, if ac- 
cepted, would entitle them to work for their degrees. I produced two 
works on Indian history which were published by two leading German 
historical magazines; one was the eitschrift fur Geopolitik, official organ 
for the Institut fur Geopolitik, of which Professor Karl Haushbfer was 
head. He had been a General in the World War, a military observer in 
Japan from the time of the Russo-Japanese War onward. Then he had 
founded the institute. Since he had published my thesis, I made a special 
trip to his home in the Bavarian Alps and secured his sponsorship for my 
entrance to the university. 

It has since become clear that Haushofer was one of the men who 
made Adolf Hitler. His institute was even then the concealed General 
Staff of German Imperialism. It was he and his General Staff that 
furnished Hitler with such demagogic ideas as Blut tmd Boden, and, 
though his wife was part Jewish, Haushofer was perhaps one of those who 
helped write Mein Kampf. 

Why Haushofer sponsored me, a woman, even though he and his class 
preached the inferiority of women, I do not know. Perhaps it was because 
of my Asiatic connections. I had prefaced my published thesis with the 
assertion that the nation that ruled India was the master of Europe. 
Haushoffer apparently wanted to keep in touch with Asiatics, but when 
he once invited Virendranath and me to his place, "th^re was nothing 
warm or friendly in his manner. He was wooden a silent, suspicious 

I was admitted to Berlin University to study for my Ph.D., but after a 
short time I realized that it was hopeless. I lacked a foundation in science 
and mathematics and I failed to keep pace with the thirty or forty older 
20 \ 

men in my seminar. Most of these men were already teachers, in the 
Gymnasiums, who had returned to the university to take their final 
degree. I had to earn my living while studying and could find no time 
to master the language. 

After a brief struggle I gave up my long-cherished plan. 

The classes which I conducted in the English Seminar of the Univer- 
sity resembled those automatic devices that pick up approaching sounds 
at a great distance. In them, liberals. Socialists, Communists, and Nazis 
defended their ideas with passion. Almost every class had at least one or 
more corps students, with duelling scars across their cheeks, who openly 
attacked the Republic, workers, Communists, Socialists, liberals, and 
Jews. One corps student once proclaimed to the class that degeneracy 
under the Republic was demonstrated even by the fact that Germans 
were forced to study under a foreign woman who wore her hair short 
and smoked cigarettes. 

At this time I joined a group of Republican, Socialist, and Communist 
physicians trying to establish the first State birth-control clinic in Berlin. 
Margaret Sanger financed our first research branch, and soon afterwards 
the Government took over the clinics and established branches in many 
cities. They continued until the Nazis came to power, after which 
women were ordered back to the bedroom. A German woman Com- 
munist doctor and I once got into a debate with her husband, a Com- 
munist physician in the Public Health Service, because he argued that if 
men could be conscripted to fight, women could be conscripted to breed. 
His attitude was no different from that of my Nazi students who sent a 
grievance committee to the head of the English Seminar of the University 
because my class had debated the question of birth-control. 

The bitter fruits of defeat in war were eaten hourly by the German 
people and nourished only hatred for their conquerors. Month by month 
I saw people die of slow hunger and watched funeral processions enter 
and leave the little church on my street. One day in December 1923 I 
found a man, a shoemaker from the French-occupied Ruhr district, 
dying of hunger in the street near our house. He carried a dirty, ragged 
baby in his arms. A group of women gathered, each undertaking to do 
something for him, while 1 1 cared for the baby until the city welfare 
bureau could take it. 

In the corner grocery I often observed gaunt workers pay out their 
week's wages, billions of paper marks, for a couple of loaves of bread, 
" some potatoes, and margarine. Meat and fruit were beyond their reach. 
There was no sugar, only saccharine, and even this they could not afford. 
'Families sought foreign boarders in order to get foreign currency, and 
decent foreigners were filled with shame. During this period I met 
American bankers and industrialists, among them a representative of 
General Motors, who regarded German poverty and helplessness as a 
gold mine for foreign investments : they could command very high rates 


of interest. What political guarantees they demanded against revolution 
I never knew, but they most certainly were demanded. The Nazis later 
came to power on such guarantees and with their help. 

The Nazi movement was growing, loudly voicing revolutionary social 
ideas stolen from the Socialists and Communists, and utilizing the despair 
of the people and the Versailles Treaty with a masterly hand. With their 
coffers filled from mysterious sources, they were challenging Socialists 
and Communists and making a tremendous bid for power. But because 
they were still relatively weak, they revived a murder fraternity of the 
Middle Ages, the Fememord. Members of this group moved about at 
night, murdering trade-union leader^, Socialists and Communists, Jews, 
and professors who had enough integrity to defend the Republic. From 
the foreign bankers I heard no protests at such outrages ; they talked only 
of "Communist violence". 

Despite all their fierce talk, the Germans were still an orderly and dis- 
ciplined people. Too disciplined, in fact. It was a Russian Communist 
who said that the German workers would revolt only if the Reichstag 
passed a law giving them permission. When the mounted police once 
charged a workers' demonstration in the Lustgarten in Berlin, the people 
who fled along the walks did not even step on the grass. 

As an illustration of the servility of German womanhood, I recall the 
case of a woman from whom Viren and I rented rooms. She made a living 
for herself, her husband, and their son, but her husband beat her regu- 
larly, and once injured her so seriously that she nearly died. Viren and 
I took the case to police headquarters, but were informed that the police 
could not interfere in family affairs unless the wife was killed ; in that case 
they could arrest the husband for murder. 

It was the political confusion and inertia of the German people that 
left ajar the gates of the State and allowed the Nazis to move in. This 
attitude spread most rapidly during that era of heart-destroying in- 
security ; it grew out of hunger, despair, and political abuse until millions 
were willing to put their minds to sleep and follow anyone who promised 
them food, shelter, and peace. Of course, along with food, shelter, and 
temporary peace the Nazis assumed the right to feed the minds of the 
people. When the German people accepted this, they surrendered the 
one thing that separates man from beast the responsibility of thinking 
for himself. When I visited Germany a number of years later, I heard 
people say with pride : 

"Hitler thinks for me." 


ALTHOUGH i HAD looked on Europe as but a halting-place, eight 
years had passed. Sometimes I thought half of these years were thrown 
to the wind, and they the best years of my life, but at other times I knew 
I had gained as well as lost. I had learned to know myself and I had 
won back my health. I had broadened iny knowledge, learned some* 
thing of the German people, and a great deal about India and Indians. 

My alliance with Virendranath terminated early in 1928. To me he 
was not just an individual, but a political principle. For me he embodied 
the tragedy of a whole race. Had he been born English or American, I 
thought, his ability would have placed him among the great leaders of 
his age. Despite all this, I could not take up life with him again. 

I was not to see Viren again until 1933. Much time and what seemed 
centuries of events had flowed past. Hitler was threatening, and Viren 
had left Germany for the Soviet Union, where he was connected with 
the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad. Upon my arrival in Moscow he 
came to see me. He was at last growing old, his body thin and frail, his 
hair rapidly turning white. The desire to return to India obsessed huq, 
but the British would trust him only if he were dust on a funeral pyre. 
What happened to him after that I do not know. 

In an effort to free myself from him totally, I had spent a number of 
months of 1927 in Denmark and Czechoslovakia, where I wrote my first 
book, Daughter of Earth. This book was a desperate attempt to reorient 
my life. I returned to Berlin in 1928 to teach at the university, but as 
soon as vacation time came I left for France, where I completed plans to 
go first to Ghina and then to India. 

For two years previous to this, I had been studying Chinese history. 
The Chinese "Great Revolution" of 1922-27 had broken on the rocks of 
class warfare when the Kuomintang had split the national front and 
begun war on the Communists. Many middle-class Chinese revolution- 
aries had fled to Europe and the Soviet Union. I had made friends with a 
few of them and had edited a book by one. Virendranath had tried to 
unite all subjected Asiatic people behind the Chinese Revolution, and I 
had become involved. To the turmoil of German life was now added a 
new element, the Chinese Revolution; and at this time I attended Berlin 
meetings in which Chinese and Germans of different factions actually 
fought one another physically. 

The League against Imperialism had been organized by the Com- 
munists, with Virendranath as one of its founders. The Indian delegation 
to its first Congxtess included Jawaharlal Nehru, and after the Congress 
in Brussels, Nehru came to Berlin, where I met him. He was a quiet, un- 
spectacular man, totally unlike most Indian leaders. He was so modest 
and reserved that it was difficult to think of him as a political leader at 
aU; yet he wiekied tremendous influence over Indian youth. The Chinese 

Revolution had made a deep impression on him. Unlike China, India 
was unarmed* This major difference was a subject of constant conflict 
between the followers of Gandhi and the advocates of armed revolu- 
tionary struggle. Virendranath was an unrelenting advocate of armed 

Returning to Germany from France in 1928, I halted in Frankfurt 
am Main, where I met the editors of the Frankfurter eitung and signed a 
contract to act as their special correspondent in China. I was to hold this 
position until shortly before Hitler came to power, after which that old 
liberal daily was taken over by the Nazis. 

In leaving Germany I was ventuling into the unknown, entering a 
responsible profession in which I had but little experience. Sometimes 
the thought of this new task frightened me. With conflicting emotions of 
relief and desolation I waved farewell to friends as my train pulled out of 
Berlin en route to China through the Soviet Union. 

As I saw it in late 1928, Moscow was very different from the city I had 
visited for six months in 1921 as a member of the Indian delegation. In 
1928 I stayed less than two months. On both occasions, however, I 
visited schools, hospitals, factories, the opera, theatres, and the homes of 
the bezprizorni, or homeless waifs. In 1928 I also visited some of the 
collective farms in the neighbourhood of Moscow. 

On my first visit in 1921, the "azure city" period of the Russian 
Revolution was coining to a close and the cold grey dawn of undramatic 
hard labour was beginning. At that time grim Red soldiers, clad in 
captured British clothing and carrying captured British and French guns, 
were pouring into Moscow from the southern front, where they had 
driven out the White armies financed by England and France. 

The Volga famine was beginning, and I saw thousands of refugees 
sleeping in railway-stations and empty churches. Typhus was decimat- 
ing the Volga region. Herbert Hoover's relief organization was being 
organized and the Russians were suspicious. American intervention in 
the Soviet Union and Hoover's black record in Hungary led Russians to 
believe that, as in Hungary, Hoover would try to do with food what 
interventionist armies had failed to do by armed force. 

In 1921 everyone was ragged, but filled with hope and enthusiasm. 
Men with holes in the seats of their pants would say: "Anyway, we're 
free." Once some friends of mine left Moscow for Germany, byt the 
engine steamed away towards the east, and it was hours before anyone 
realized that the passenger cars were still standing in the railway station. 
Almost no telephone worked, no lock locked, and no train ran on time. 

In all, I visited the Soviet Union during three different periods. 
Through all these years I maintained an interest in the fate of the bezpri- 
term. In 1921 the Government had issued a manifesto concerning the 
rescue of these homeless children, and committees were formed to round 

them up, examine and sort them, and place them in homes. The fate of 
these children affected me deeply because of my own childhood. 

The Soviet Government regarded all children as its wards. Years have 
now passed, and I remember but faintly the individual dramas that were 
played out before the bezprizorni committees. A plainly-clad motherly 
woman of middle age, with ample hips and bosom, would often hold out 
her hands to a ragged, filthy little boy. The child would shrink back in 
fear. Carefully, deviously, the woman would talk and laugh with him, 
caress him, and slowly win him to her. 

I went to a number of churches, cathedrals, and monasteries which 
had been fitted out as dormitorieS and school-rooms for the children. 
Some buildings were being equipped with machinery and tools in order 
that the boys might be drawn into constructive and disciplined work. Any 
form of manhandling was forbidden, and the boys had their own self- 
government and tried any offending comrade. 

In 1933-4, when I visited the Soviet Union for the third time, I was 
too ill to do much more than inquire about the fate of the bezprizorni. I 
learned that there were no longer any homeless children ; and those who 
had once been waifs were men and women. Some were skilled workers or 
technicians, some university students, some officers or soldiers in the Red 
Army. Once, in a sanatorium in the Caucasus, I met a young agrarian 
economist, a graduate of Moscow University, who had been one of the 
igsKwaifs. In one of the Red Army rest homes I met two former bezpri- 
zorni who had become commanders. In the truest sense of the phrase, 
these men could say : The Soviet Union is my motherland. 

Many of the foreign travellers were filled with a vitriolic hatred of the 
Soviet Union and would stare through the windows, calling attention to 
the poorly dressed people on the railway platforms. Though these 
foreigners had merely changed trains in Moscow, they felt that they had 
become authorities on Russian atrocities and tyranny. Certainly there 
had been many sad and tragic events during and after the Russian 
Revolution. But I never heard well-placed foreigners object to atrocities 
perpetrated by the White Guard armies against the Russian people, nor 
did they see anything wrong with the invasion of the Soviet Union by 
foreign armies during the Revolution. 

For years there has remained deeply etched in my memory the scene 
that confronted me as I entered the Soviet Union in 1928. My train 
had passed through Poland, and at railway stations I had watched 
fashionably dressed Polish ladies, painted and elegant, bid farewell to 
Polish officers in smart uniforms gaudy with gold braid. On a late 
wintry October *day our train drew up at the Soviet-Polish frontier and 
I approached the customs station of the first socialist country. This 
building was rough-hewn out of great logs, and in the waning light it 
seemed to tower far into the sky and lose itself in the gloom. Before the 
entrance stood a tall Red Army soldier, his grey greatcoat reaching to 

the earth, his tall peaked cap with its red star shadowing his face. One 
end of his rifle rested on the earth and the fixed bayonet reached above 
his shoulder. 

He stood as immovable as the powerful, rough-hewn building behind 
him. Beyond the scene stretched the grey, impenetrable darkness* 
Somewhere in that darkness I knew that people were struggling with the 
rudest forces of nature to build a new world of their own choosing, 
struggling alone and unaided. But always before the frontier station 
stood a guard, silent and watchful, facing the Western world. In such a 
position, I thought, had once stood the men who had founded my own 
country. : 




AT THE SOVIET-CHINESE frontier at Manchouli, Soviet porters helped 
us with our luggage. Silently they carried it into the customs station, 
where one of their representatives sat at a table and charged us a 
small sum for each piece. There V;'as no asking for or accepting tips, 
no bowing and scraping. The system protected us and guarded the self- 
respect of the porters. 

Our luggage stamped, we turned to face the Middle Ages. Through 
the years I have never forgotten the frozen expression on the face of the 
dark-eyed Soviet railwayman who stood watching the Chinese coolies 
take our luggage in charge. 

A horde of these men, clothed in rags, scrambling and shouting, threw 
themselves on our bags and began fighting over each piece. Five or six 
fell upon my four suitcases and two struggled for my small typewriter 
and their action seemed all the more debased because they were as tall 
and strong as the tallest Americans. Finally two of them carried off my 
typewriter, and before I could recover from shock, all of them began 
running with the luggage to the waiting train. Inside, six men crowded 
about me, holding out their hands and shouting for money. For a mo- 
ment I was paralyzed, then began to pay them generously to get rid of 
them. A woman passenger kept warning me that if I overpaid they 
would demand more. I disregarded her; then the coolies were about 
me, shouting, shaking their fists, threatening. 

A Chinese trainman came through the car, saw the scene, and with a 
shout began literally to kick the coolies down the aisle and off the train. 
Grasping their money, they ran like dogs. 

I stood frozen. My face must have resembled that of the black-eyed 
Soviet.worker who had watched the scene at the customs house. Perhaps 
his feeling had been what mine was now : here was humanity abandoned. 
The victims of every whim of misfortune, these men had grown to man- ; 
hood like animals, without the slightest sense of responsibility towards { 
each other or of human fellowship. When an opportunity for gain came, ; 
they battled one another like beasts, and the losers offered no protest. : 
Here was "rugged individualism" and the "survival of the fittest" in its i 
most primal form. 

This scene became for me symptomatic of the social system of China, 
however disguised and decked out it might be. I saw it repeated in many 
other settings, often more polite, but always essentially the same a life- 
and-death struggle in which the timid and weak went down before the 

ruthless and strong. Seeing it, I was forever saying to myself: ''There, 
but for the grace of God, go I," 

From the day I set foot on Chinese soil, I began -gradually to realize 
that two paths lay before me. I could protect myself from the flood of 
abandoned humanity by building around myself a protective wall of 
coldness and indifference, even of hostility. I could learn to curse and 
strike out at those who molested me ; or I could stand in the middle of the 
stream of life and let it strike me full force risking robbery, disease, even 
death. For a long time I chose the latter way; then experience taught me 
to vary it by protecting myself to a certain extent. In my last years in 
China I again changed and took the* stream full force. 

Some people called me -an idealist, others a fool; some called me both. 
Within my heart was some vague conviction that love and understanding 
begot love and understanding. For a long time I did not understand that 
"most Chinese believe that all foreigners are rich. Nor did I realize how 
well dressed and well fed I seemed to the Chinese poor. To them I was 
nothing but a source of money. Once, when I fell while crossing a ditch 
in Peiping and lay unconscious, a crowd of Chinese, including a police- 
man, gathered around me, staring curiously perhaps watching to see 
how a foreigner died. Not one offered to help, until by chance a student 
came by ; he directed a ricksha coolie to take me to a hospital. Never had 
I felt so alone and deserted. 

From that time on I began to seek out men and women who were 
socially aware, to wait in patience until they learned to trust me. Live 
apart from the Chinese people I would not. The road to an understand- 
ing of them and their country led only into their ranks ; nor did there 
seem any other way for me to justify my own existence among them. 

When I entered Manchuria in late December 1928, those three north- 
eastern provinces of China were under the absolutist rule of Marshal 
Chang Hsueh-liang. He was called "Marshal" not because of experience 
or ability but because his father had been Marshal Chang Tso-lin, a bandit 
chieftain who had ruled Manchuria until the Japanese found him un- 
trustworthy. They had killed the older man two years before. After 
that the struggle for the body and soul of his debauched young son began. 
On one side were the Japanese with their powerful grip on Manchuria ; 
on the other the Kuomintang, the ruling nationalist party, striving to 
consolidate its hold on the entire land. 

The Kuomintang had been formed by the father of the Chinese 
Republic, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, and as long as he lived it was a revolutionary 
party, based on a programme of nationalism and independence, demo- 
cracy, and the improvement of the condition of the pedple. In 1924 Dr. 
Sun had invited many Soviet advisers to Canton to help build a govern- 
ment and army that could overthrow the militarists. Under their 
guidance Army officers were trained, and the Kuomintang organized 
into a structure which resembled the Communist Party of the Soviet 

Union. Communists were admitted to it and for the first time in Chinese 
history peasants and workers were recognized as having equal rights 
with the middle and upper classes. 

Yet everyone saw the handwriting on the wall. Millions of peasants 
and workers regarded the revised Kuomintang as the charter of their 
emancipation. The conservatives and moderates saw only that the 
masses were many and they few; and this they feared. Early in 1925 the 
great father of the Republic died. One year later a young military 
officer led his first abortive Putsch against the revolutionary Canton 
Government. His name was Chiang. Kai-shek, and he had been one of 
Sun Yat-sen's followers. Dr. Sun had thought well enough of him to 
send him to Moscow to study, and for a time the Soviet advisers in China 
regarded him as the leading military man in the nationalist camp. But 
when Sun Yat-sen died, the cement that held the nationalist camp 
together began to crumble. Old class lines began to harden again and 
there was a fierce rivalry for the mantle that had fallen from the shoulders 
of the dead revolutionary leader. The three chief rivals were the Leftist, 
Wang Ching-wei, the extreme Right reactionary, Hu Han-min, and 
Chiang Kai-shek, the only military leader of the three and, by virtue of 
this fact, destined to become the most powerful. The canker of personal 
ambition for power seemed equal in each of them, and at one time or 
another all three had either lived or studied in Japan. 

Chiang Kai-shek seemed to have a deep-rooted hatred of Soviet advisers. 
Jus^ how much of this was real nationalism, how much was rivalry with 
Wang, who was then more closely linked with the Communists, and how 
much was the usual contempt for the masses, it seems impossible to say. 
Certainly Chiang's hatred seemed to concentrate on Michael Borodin, 
the chief Soviet adviser, who at that time exercised great power. 

Despite the abortive 1926 Putsch led by Chiang Kai-shek, the breach 
in nationalist ranks was temporarily healed and General Chiang was 
appointed commander of the southern revolutionary army in the Northern 
Expedition of 1926-7 against the war-lords. 

One year later, in April 1927, Shanghai Chinese bankers and factory- 
owners, aided by foreign bankers, offered General Chiang an initial loan 
of twenty-five million dollars if he would disarm and dissolve the trade 
unions and peasant leagues, purge the Kuomintang of Communists, and 
establish p. new government in Nanking as rival to the one in Hankow, 
the city to which the revolutionary Canton Government had been 

Some said that Qhiang Kai-shek walked the floor throughout the night 
before he made his final decision. Before him lay two roads : one was a 
revolution which would certainly be successful but would end in power 
for the people, the other pointed towards power for the owning classes, 
with himself as dictator. He chose the latter road, and the terror began 
on the night of April 11, 1927. 


Thousands of factory workers and hundreds of intellectuals in Shanghai 
and other cities were slaughtered. There were no trials. In the interior, 
military governors, Army commanders, and landlords began killing 
peasants. Rivers of blood divided the earth of China. Foreign Powers 
called it good and recognized the Government at Nanking as the only 
Government of China. Wang Ching-wei wavered, deserted Hankow, 
and fled to Europe, as did many other middle-class leaders. Madame 
Sun Yat-sen went abroad, refusing to lend her name to the Kuomintang. 

Historical parallels are not always apt, yet it is significant that the 
German working class and intellectuals later went down like houses 
of cards before the Nazis, while the untrained, unarmed, unlettered 
Chinese workers and peasants resisted. Without outside help they began 
to fight as they had fought to overthrow dynasty after dynasty. 

Armed units of the Kuomintang Army, some of whose commanders 
were Communists or Communist-sympathizers, arose in July 1927 at 
Nanchang. After weeks of fighting in Kiangsi and Kwangtung Provinces 
they were all but wiped out. The workers and soldiers of Canton arose 
on December n, but soon other armies, aided by foreign gun-boats, 
defeated them and slaughtered thousands in the city. Under Chu Teh, 
a Kuomintang commander who had become a Communist, remnants 
fought their way back into the mountains of Kiangsi and soon a peasant- 
worker army led by Chu Teh and Mao Tze-tung, an intellectual of 
peasant origin, began to take form. 

With infinite suffering, at colossal sacrifice, this new revolutionary 
army began to organize and train the people into the first Chinese Red 
Army of Workers and Peasants. For almost ten years it continued to grow 
and fight; in late 1934 it began its epic "Long March" to the far north- 
west, where in 1936-7 it helped weld together another united front, this 
time against the Japanese. 

After the Nanking Government had been recognized by the foreign 
Powers, the "purged" Kuomintang revised the "Three People's Prin- 
ciples" of the dead but still influential Sun Yat-sen. Nothing but 
nationalism now remained. The Chinese owning classes rejoiced at this, 
but the foreigners with special privileges did not. Much as in Germany, 
the conunon people wanted more than nationalism;. one answer was 
some form of socialism. Landlordism held the peasants in virtual serf- 
dom, and they could not advance until their bonds were broken. They 
needed the democratic rights of citizenship advocated by Sun Yat-sen. 
But Sun Yat-sen was dead and his body was claimed by the new Naiiking 
Government Many men who had been his mortal enemies now joined 
the Kuomintang and helped rule the country. 

SuchTwas the background of China as I saw it. 

It was this Kuomintang that negotiated with Marshal Chang Hsueh- 
liang to bring Manchuria under the control of or into alliance with the 
Nanking Government. Marshal Chang was a war-lord, a supreme die- 

tator, an opium-smoker and owner of concubines. But what Kuomin- 
tang member dared throw stones? The "Young Marshal" knew his 
Kuomintang. He agreed to raise the new national flag over Manchuria 
and place all foreign affairs in the hands of the Nanking Government. 
In return he received "presents" and was recognized as supreme ruler 
of Manchuria. In his domain he alone could appoint members of the 

He was a proud young war-lord, but conscious of his race. Unlike such 
war-lords as Chang Chung-chang in Shantung, he never received 
American consular officials while in bed with a concubine or with one 
perched on his knee. He could, however, halt his car on seeing a pretty 
woman, take her to his palace, and later return her to her family with 
a cheque in payment for use. Some families were prdud of the royal 

I arrived in Harbin on New Year's Day 1929, just in time to witness 
the hoisting of the national flag over Manchuria. The national flag, 
incidentally, was produced by Chinese factories which had forced their 
workers to labour for twenty-four hours and then sold the flags at a 
handsome profit. The atmosphere was charged, for when the flag went 
up, the Japanese, having suffered a political defeat, became sullen and 
hostile'. No one knew just when they would strike. Men talked in 
whispers, asking just how long it would take the Japanese to move troops 
into various parts of Manchuria. They were said to be in conference with 
Marshal Chang in Mukden, protesting and threatening, but he had 
replied that all foreign affairs were now in the hands of Nanking. 

Would the Chinese fight? Some said they would, many said no. 
Most officials and military officers had bought their positions from the 
Government at Mukden, then used them to become rich. Some wanted 
only money, and they were in the pay of the Japanese. Others pined for 
such extra cash, but the Japanese found them useless. The Chief of 
Police of Harbin was a Japanese agent and, a few days before I arrived 
in that city, had opened fire on . a public demonstration of students 
demanding the union of Manchuria with China proper. Many students 
had been wounded and a number killed. Manchuria reeked with cor- 
ruption and treason. 

Officials from two foreign consulates told me that the Japanese had 
lists of every Chinese official and officer, high and low, and knew just 
who could be bought and who not. 

One of the first beggar cries that I heard in China was at Harbin : 
"Give! Givel May you become rich! May you become an official!" 
Sometimes the cryVaried : "May you become rich ! May you become a 

In Fu-jia-tien, jhe old Chinese section of Harbin, crowds of begging 
immigrant peasant women from Shantung and Hopei Provinces south 
of the Great Wall followed me through the streets. They had tucked 

their babies inside the front of their dirty padded jackets, and they threw 
themselves to their knees on the icy pavement before me, crying : "Give ! 
May you become rich 1" 

When I passed on, they followed, crying, while a flock of children ran 
before me, falling on their knees and beating their heads on the ice, 
begging. I passed by; they followed and repeated their self-humiliation. 
To clear my path I would give again and again, only to find new crowds 
appearing from nowhere. I would take a ricksha, but they would cling 
to it, crying, and the puller would halt and wait for me to give. Only 
when my student guide drove them off with curses was I free of them. 

I spent nearly three months in Manchuria, living in Chinese homes to 
which students took me. From foreign consular officials, Chinese railway 
officials, from students, publications, and every possible source, I* sought 
to learn the extent of Japanese economic control and political power 
over railways, government machinery, investments in factories and land. 
Their. tentacles reached into every cranny and they regarded every 
Chinese improvement as a menace. They operated through Chinese 
officials and Army officers, White Russian emigrts, and foreigners of every 
other nationality, including Americans. 

My first series of articles were on "Japan's Mailed Fist in Manchuria". 
The Frankfurter eitung doubted their accuracy and did not publish them 
until Japan began the unheralded invasion of Manchuria on September 
18, 1931. 

The debasement and oppression of millions of the common people 
under feudal absolutism explain in part Japan's success in the final 
occupation of Manchuria. True, there was another side to this medal. 
There were Chinese patriots, among them officials, military men, and 
students, but they were few, and the students, regarded as "dangerous 
elements", were driven into secrecy. 

There was indeed a gracious side to China : the life of those families 
which lived in spacious, sprawling homes, surrounded by high cement 
walls topped with broken glass. White Russians stood on armed guard 
before the gates and in the watch-towers on the walls. These great homes 
sucked in wealth from the men who cultivated their estates, from timber- 
workers in the great forests, from miners whose daily wage was less than 
twenty Chinese cents, and, in some cases, from the opium traffic. 

The men and women who lived behind the walls of these "great 
family" homes regarded the poverty and suffering about them as only 
natural. It had always been so and would always be. Even students, 
more sensitive than others, took public scenes of brutality for granted, 
just as they took poverty and death. They would notite some cruel street 
scene only when I called attention to it. In this unawareness and in- 
difference I saw how old and how deep was China's subjection. 

One day a Chinese coolie, delivering laundry, passed me. From the 
ends of his shoulder-pole hung two baskets filled with newly washed 

clothing. The icy Siberian weather had coated his bushy eyebrows and 
the rag around his head with a frosty white sheen. Half-blinded by the 
cold, he slipped and fell, and his baskets flew out, scattering the clothing 
and striking a pedestrian. The pedestrian spewed curses at him, then 
passed on. Not one person paused except a policeman. When the coolie 
saw him, he fell to his knees, threw up his arms over his head, and waited* 

The policeman did not beat him. Instead he began to kick him, and 
with each kick the coolie was sent sprawling. He would rise to his knees 
time and again and with clasped hands plead for mercy. Crowds of 
people passed. They either did not see or merely gave an indifferent 
glance. * 

A number of times I exclaimed to my student interpreter : "This is the 
' Middle Ages!" 

The student beamed, perhaps proud that China should excel in 

On another occasion I heard the tramp of feet and the rumble of a 
cart. I looked back to see two lines of soldiers walking with the lithe 
grace of panthers, their bre&th rising about them in small clouds. 
Between the two columns rumbled a cart drawn by a shaggy Mongolian 
pony, and on it sat two prisoners with their hands bound behind them. 
They were filthy and their hair had grown long and matted. Behind 
each was a narrow board on which was written the name of the captive 
and the crime for which he was to be executed. 

A curious crowd of men and boys ran after them. Outside Fu-jia-tien 
was an open space where prisoners were publicly beheaded before gawk- 
ing mobs. The severed heads were often placed in baskets and hung up 
as a warning to others. Passers-by shrugged their shoulders. The victims 
were unlucky, they said. They had not succeeded in something or 

After the cart had passed, my student guide, with the air of a man of 
the world, imparted a bit of information : "Over in Kirin, when bandits 
are beheaded, the relatives of men they have killed sometimes cut out 
their hearts and eat them." 

Like the proverbial fool who walks in where angels fear to tread, I 
blundered in and out of offices and institutions, met all kinds of people 
openl) or secretly, and asked such direct quAtions that those to whom 
I spoke were often struck dumb. Now and then a man would be so 
astonished that he would answer truthfully, then, hastily backtrack. It 
was some time before I realized that China is a land of political secrecy 
and cunning and that few men asked or answered direct questions. 
% They trusted no dhe. 

' One of my interviews with the president of the Chamber of Com- 
merce was ironically amusing. I had learned that this man, like most 
of his colleagues, dealt in opium, and I had just visited an opium village 
in which there were long barracks filled with little opium-smoking cells. 
B fChina) 33 

So I walked into the Chamber of Commerce and asked its president just 
how much opium was smoked in that village in, say, one week. 

Dressed in his long blue fur-lined silk gown, he sat on the edge of his 
chair, his hands braced on his knees, and stared at me as a snake watches 
a bird. Recovering his composure, he graciously announced that it was 
an honour to meet a foreign lady who took an interest in Chinese affairs. 
My life must be bitter and I surely found the cold weather distressing. 
No, I replied, I liked the cold weather, but was interested in the opium 
traffic, of which I had so often read. 

Did I enjoy good health, and did I Ijke China? he asked. My health 
was excellent, I assured him. Had i seen the very old pagoda near the 
city? I had seen it, but was not interested in it as much as in opium. 
He smiled pleasantly and assured me that it had been an honour to make 
my acquaintance and he hoped I would call again, although he felt 
certain my important work would make that impossible. He rose and 
with elaborate courtesy bowed me out of the building, down the walk, 
and out of the gate ! 

After a few such interviews I began to team Chinese tactics. Personal 
friendships, banquets, and endless hours of chatter might build up 
confidence and loosen men's tongues, but a direct question was met 
with blank stares followed by polite questions about my health. Inci- 
dentally, people who were asked such questions might well think of their 

One day my student guide introduced me to a new aspect of this 
ancient world. I told him of an article which I had read in the Japanese* 
owned Manchurian Daily News. It had reported -that twenty Japanese 
Communists, accused of organizing Chinese and Japanese railway 
workers and miners, had been arrested and taken to Dairen. But after 
that the subject had never been mentioned again. The student informed 
me that such arrests were quite .common and that Manchurian prisons 
were filled with hundreds of Chinese and Korean nationalists accused of 
being Communists; Japanese prisoners were removed to Japan. Some 
prisoners died of sickness or torture and others were beheaded or shot, 
he said. But he refused to go with me to the Governor to ask for a permit 
to visit the prisons. If I did such a dangerous thing, he said, not only 
would I be suspected of King a Communist, but his own life would be 
in danger. 

One day he took me to see some of the students who had been wounded 
in a demonstration. I found one convalescing in a small barren room in a 
barn-like apartment house. This building swarmed like a rabbit warren 
with poor people. Across the hall from the student Vas a little room* 
occupied by Sano, a Japanese printer who spoke. English. Shelves filled* 
with books and pamphlets aroused my suspicion that he was a Japanese ' 
spy posing as a Communist. I had been in dozens of homes in north 
Manchuria, but no student kept any books besides texts in his roomu One 

student had once showed me two copies of Gorky's novels bound as 
Confucian Classics, but even these he kept hidden. 

I sat down near Sano's book-shelves and casually lifted out some of the 
volumes. A few concerned the Japanese peasant movement, and their 
paper covers actually bore the sign of the hammer and sickle. I asked 
Sano about the twenty Japanese labour organizers who had been 
arrested and taken to Dairen. He turned an amiable but perfectly 
blank face towards me and, instead of answering, asked about the Ger- 
man Communist movement. I replied that I knew little about it 
beyond what I read in the Press. Had I met any Japanese Communists 
in Moscow? he asked. I had met a Japanese playwright, but I told the 
. printer I had met no one. 

This futile sparring went on for some time, and finally Sano and I 
bowed politely to each other and parted. A week later, however, my 
student guide told me that Sano had "run away" he had really been 
a labour organizer. Japanese secret police had made inquiries about him 
at the newspaper on which he worked and he had immediately slipped 
out of the back door and disappeared. 

The conversation of men around me was often punctuated by this 
cryptic phrase : "He has run away." Chinese students, railway officials, 
clerks in foreign consulates, teachers and professors, and even members 
of the Kuomintang from Nanking, all had friends or relatives who were 
members of a great international brotherhood that seemed to be on the 
run. Once in Harbin I secretly met a representative of the Kuomintang 
from Nanking. He was a newspaper man, but even he was living in 
hiding and seemed to be poised, ready to run. He was anti-Communist 
and a nationalist, but only Marshal Chiang's official Kuomintang could 
exist in Manchuria. "It is very difficult," he kept telling me. 

Soon I myself was drawn into this great international brotherhood of 
people who "ran away". A Chinese inspector on the Chinese Eastern 
Railway invited me to dinner one evening and began to tell a strange 
story. He had a friend, chief clerk in the American Consulate, he said, 
who had seen a confidential document from the British secret service 
informing the Consulate that I was not an American citizen, but a 
British subject, married to an Indian seditionist. My passport was false, 
the report had charged. I was to be summoned to the American Con- 
sulate and my passport taken from me. The clerk wanted to warn me to 
"run away". 

I said the report was false and that I would go to the Consulate and 
ted them so. 

"If you do that", the alarmed inspector cried, "the Consul General will 
suspect where you got the report and my friend will lose his job 1 He may 
even be suspected of being a Communist ! You had better run away." 

I talked about my civil rights, but the inspector insisted that nobody 
in Manchuria had ever heard of such Jhings. 


Though the charge against me was untrue, and though I was a cor* 
respondent, I decided to wait until I reached the American Embassy or 
some American consulate in China proper before I began to talk about 
civil rights. That same night the inspector and a student my guide and 
interpreter took my luggage to the 1 railway station, checked it, and 
bought two tickets. Early next morning I left money on a table in my 
room and walked out. The student interpreter, who spoke both English 
and Japanese, was waiting for me. We slipped away. "When dining 
with the devil, use a long spoon," says an old Indian proverb. 

A few days later as we drove through the Japanese and foreign settle- 
ments into the walled city of Mukden, where the Chinese population 
lived, our droshky-driver leaned back and shouted the latest news. Marshal 
Chang Hsueh-liang had just shot a General, jmd everyone! was petrified 
with fear. Marshal Chang, it seemed, had invited some high officers to 
a banquet, beckoned General Yang Yu-ting, his chief military rival, into 
a side room, and shot him. He sent the body home to the General's 
family with a handsome cheque and a letter declaring that the corpse 
had been his best friend and that he had wept tears over it. 

As a rule the huge steel-studded gates of Mukden were closed at mid* 
night and opened at daybreak. After the latest shooting, however, they 
had been closed at eight each night and guards patrolled the wall and 
streets. Within a few days the city returned to normal, though people 
still talked in whispers. 

We found refuge in a Chinese home within the shadow of ttye high 
walls surrounding Marshal Chang's palace. Life in Mukden was- 
medieval. Watchmen with brass gongs told the hours of the silent night. 
Their voices, high and mournful, were swallowed up by the harsh cold, 
and no sound lingered. The world was wrapped in snow and, except for 
the two main thoroughfares, the city lay in white silence. Houses were 
encased in high walls which rose on either side of narrow streets. An 
occasional tree from some garden leaned over the streets, and sometimes 
a full moon, flowing through barren branches, left a delicate tracery on 
the earth. 

From inside our walls we often heard the high voices of beggar women, 
peasant immigrants from famine-stricken regions within China, crying : 
"Give ! May you be rich ! May you be an official !" Then the night . 
would strangle the cry. 

In the evenings we would hire rickshas and drive to restaurants or the 
homes of friends. The soft-shod feet of the tall ricksha-pullers made not a 
sound. From afar came the beggars' cries 'and the bells or gongs of street 
vendors. ' 

Once we came out upon the main street just as a foot-bound woman, 
leading a child by the hand, slipped and fell. Her basket of meagre pro- 
visions scattered about her. A crowd gathered and laughed uproariously. 
She sat perfectly still, looked abouj her, then began to "curse the street 1 '. 

She cursed the spirit of their mother's mother and their mother's mother's 
mother. She related tales of their incest and worse. She worked them 
over and up and down until they lowered their heads and hurried away. 
At last she rose painfully on her "lily feet", gathered up her provisions, 
and hobbled away. 

I visited Chinese people at night, and during the day went to factories, 
schools, the new Mukden arsenal, and other institutions. From Harbin 
I had written a Japanese woman friend in Tokyo for an introduction to 
Japanese in Manchuria. When the introduction came a new world was 
opened to me. As guest in the homes of Japanese, I learned of the deep 
contempt which the Japanese entertained for all Chinese and for all 
' women. They talked of Chinese dirt, corruption, and cunning and of 
their concubines. 

"Many Japanese women marry Chinese men," I reminded one 

"Yes," he answered bitterly, "because our women are obedient." 

"Not all," I replied. "I was introduced to you by a modern Japanese 


His voice was withering: "We Japanese have no respect for such 
women !" 

His wife gave me a timid look, then lowered her head. 

Through these Japanese I visited Japanese factories, their Fushun 
mines, and their schools for Chinese. They objected to my Chinese 
interpreter, but I insisted that I did not like to travel alone. I instructed 
my interpreter not to indicate that he knew the Japanese language. If I 
left him in any factory while I went on, he was to talk, if possible, with 
the Chinese workers. 

Almost all Chinese in Japanese mines or factories were forced to live 
in enclosed barracks or dormitories and were not permitted to leave 
them without a special pass. Few Chinese were interested enough in the 
lot of the workers to inquire about their living-conditions. Even students, 
generally suspected of being potential or actual Communists, had no 
contact with workers and thought of them as unimportant. 
* Like the factories, the great Fushun collieries maintained the contract 
labour system, a disguised form of serfdom* This system operated in all 
Japanese factories in Manchuria and China, in many foreign and Chinese 
factories in China proper, in all mines, and all along the water-fronts. A 4 
labour contractor, working independently or for some rich man, would 
* supply workers at perhaps twenty cents a day for a ten-, twelve-, or 
four teen-hour wcdk-day over a period of years. He would give the workers 
miserable food and shelter and perhaps five or ten cents a day. If it were 
a silk or cotton factory, he would contract for hundreds of village girls, 
paying their families thirty to fifty dollars for a period of years and the 
girls a few coppers a month. If workers fell ill from tuberculosis or heart 
ailments, the contractor dismissed them summarily. A contractor's only 


obligation was, if they died while on the job, to buy some sort of crude 
coffin and ship the bodies home. 

If workers ran away the police hunted them down and returned them to 
their owner. In later years I knew of cases in which the British police 
of the International Settlement in Shanghai arrested runaway girl 
labourers and returned them to their masters. 

When I went through the Fushun mines and their barrack dormi- 
tories, I could not help exclaiming at the emaciated bodies of the miners. 
It was deep winter, yet their clothing was of thin cotton and so badly 
torn that the bare flesh was exposed. The Japanese glibly explained : 
"The miners squander their money in drinking, gambling, and prostitu- 
tion. Most of them have syphilis. Our company maintains a medical 
clinic, but few go there." 

The Japanese did indeed provide medical care, and the Fushun mines 
even had a bath-house for workers. But medical care was not free except 
to men injured in mine disasters. A Japanese engineer was disconcerted 
when I told him that I knew the miners worked not eight hours, as he 
said, but ten, and that their pay was five cents a day, paid by the con- 
tractor. Miners were fined for indifference, lateness, slowness, absence 
from work for any reason, "damage", or "insubordination". At the end 
of each fortnight all were in debt to Chinese usurers. The mine always 
kept the first fortnight's wage as guarantee, and only if workers remained 
until the end of their contract and did not "agitate", try to form trade 
unions, or strike did they get the money which had been withheld. 

"The contract system is merely an old Chinese custom," the Japanese 
told me. 

The Mukden home in which I lived was torn by conflict between the 
old and the new. The family consisted of a father, his wife, and two sons, 
and two young grandchildren whose parents had died in the plague a 
few months before. We celebrated the Chinese New Year in this home 
or rather we mourned it. Because of debt, the father and two sons had to 
leave the house and live with friends until New Year's Day. If debts 
were not paid before New Year's Eve, the creditors could not again 
demand payment until another year had passed. ** 

Often I heard the loud, angry voices of the sons and their father. The 
old mother, who had borne many children but had lost all except the 
two sons, had grown ugly and hollow-breasted. She would sometimes 
turn her head away lest I see her eyes red with weeping. One quarrel 
developed because the father wanted to ask me for money to pay his ' 
debts. At the same time he was also planning to buy a concubine, a 
girl of sixteen, for seven hundred dollars. His rebellious sons threatened 
to leave home and join the Army. 

The most ancient of Chinese teachings, filial piety, was crumbling 
before the onslaught of modern thought, and, in this case, of Christianity. 
Both sons were in high school, spoke English, and read modem booh, 

The elder was a Christian and a nationalist, the younger a Christian and 
a Communist. They also quarrelled with each other. The Communist 
son referred to Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang as a feudal war-lord who 
shot down anyone who displeased him. The elder son argued that the 
"Young Marshal" had succeeded in raising the national flag, was defying 
the Japanese by building railways and industries, enlarging the Mukden 
arsenal, and opening a modern military school to train young officers. 
When asked who could take the Young Marshal's place, the young 
Communist could not reply. The workers were not organized, even to 
fight the Japanese, and all students* or Korean nationalists who worked 
against the Japanese were hunted down. The peasants were being J 
cheated with worthless paper money and robbed by landlords, usurers, 
and officials. 

At many a banquet table surrounded by officials I advocated trade 
unions as a method of opposing the Japanese. But Chinese, Japanese, 
and all foreigners were afraid of trade unions. Organized workers 
would demand high wages and shorter hours and turn into Communist 
bandits, they said. 

When I left Mukden for Dairen and China proper, my student inter- 
preter refused to go with me. Dairen was under the dictatorship of the 
Japanese, and every Chinese was watched. A student or two whom he 
had formerly known there had "run away'*. When I arrived at Dairen, 
two Japanese, each bowing politely and sucking in his breath, stepped 
forward to receive me and lead me to a car. "Friends" in Mukden had 
asked them to take me to the big Japanese hotel of the South Manchurian 
Railway. I went, registered and surrendered my passport. When I set 
out to find several Japanese professors, the two Japanese were again 
waiting to escort me. Throughout my stay in Dairen they popped up 
everywhere and at all hours. 

I tried to be as polite to them as they were to me, but never succeeded. 
I could not suck in my breath as they did, nor could I belch to show my 
appreciation of a good meal. Neither could I bow very low, because my 
notes and copies of my articles prevented me from doing so. I was im- 
polite enough to carry these next to my skin instead of leaving them in 
my hotel for my escorts to read. 

Despite their polite protests, I took a British coastal steamer from 
Dairen to Tientsin, instead of free passage on a Japanese vessel. When I 
told the Irish captain some of my Dairen experiences, he laughed and 
recalled an incident when he had made his first trip to Dairen* A 
Japanese quarantine officer had boarded his vessel, bowed very low, 
sucked in his breath, and announced: 

+"I am the plague/ 9 

"And roight he was !" laughed the Irish sea captain. 


1 HE CHINESE PATRICIANS liked to discuss the Chinese attitude 
towards death. Chinese philosophy, they said, had taught the people to 
accept death serenely. A German in Tientsin even told me that Chinese 
did ndt mind having their heads chopped off. "They are used to it," he 
said. I myself had seen a man dying in the street and a crowd gather, 
curious to see just how he died. Some sighed, their eyes sorrowful, but 
none tried to help. When I offered to call an ambulance, a friend of 
mine objected : 

"If you do that, you must pay for the ambulance and cover the hospital 
bill and the burial expenses. If he recovers, you must support him. If 
you do not, he will die somewhere else." 

In Tientsin I visited the outposts of death. A taxi took me to Nankai 
University to meet a group of professors. Leaving the well-paved streets 
of the foreign concessions, our car bounded along the rutted dirt road 
which the rains had turned into a quagmire. On the drab mud flats 
crouched many small mud-and-thatch villages. Here men made their 
last stand against death. Ragged, dirty children with small baskets 
picked at garbage heaps. In the fields and along the road were many 
grave-mounds from which the earth had fallen away, exposing the decay- 
ing coffins level with the earth. Frightened by the roar of our engine, 
curs leaped from the crumbling bones which they had been gnawing, and 
fled snarling into the fields. 

The Nankai University patricians deplored this and hoped reforms 
would one day change such conditions. They were publishing a monthly 
magazine of agrarian and industrial research, and were later to publish 
a thick quarterly. They planned to take over a district or two somewhere 
in north China and introduce modern accounting, co-operative market- 
ing, mass education, and medical clinics. Peiping doctors and professors 
were helping. They hoped these model districts would show how suffer- 
ing could be alleviated if illegal or excessive taxes could be abolished and 
if the people were some time, somehow, aided in buying back the land 
they had lost to landlords and officials. 

The patricians of Peiping were a group of men and a few women who 
had inherited the finest elements of Chinese culture and gleaned the 
best from the universities of America and England. Few were rich, most 
of them springing from landed gentry of moderate means. They were 
gracious, charming, and keen-witted. I saw the colleges and universities 
in which they taught, the scientific institutions they wg*e trying to build, 
and that ancient city whose colour, sound, and leisurely way of life they 
all loved. In other days it had been the centre of the intellectual renais- 
sance in which they had played so important a role. The city, like their 
minds, echoed the best in China's past. Though some had been in- 
fluenced by Christian philosophy, few were Christians and all rejected 

the Christian idea that man is born evil. They spoke of science and educa- 
tion as the best means towards good ends. They resembled the patricians 
of ancient Greece ; and, like ancient Greece, their society rested on the 
backs of men not far removed from slavery. 

In China, as in classic Greece, "family women" never associated with 
men as friends or comrades. Only a few girl students dared become 
actresses, though many were learning to walk openly in the streets with 
men friends. In China, as in Greece, no man of education did physical 
labour. Theirs was the realm of intellect, and they lost face by physical 

In feminine fashion I challenged the Peiping patricians on the score 
of the backwardness of the wives of respectable men, on the concubine 
system, and on courtesans. Some asserted that courtesans were at least 
better than the prostitute system of the West. Worse, I insisted, for the 
West recognized prostitution as an evil; in China men's desires were 
absolute. A Chinese woman who dared take a lover could be "set aside" 
by her husband and family ; the man never. 

They spoke of the old family system in which the possession of con- 
cubines gave a man "face". The concubines were bought, and could be 
sold or given away to subordinates. A poet who became my friend even 
asserted that concubines were the only opportunity for love that a man 
had. "Ridiculous !" I protested. "The concubine does not choose love 
she is bought." 

This poet had broken with the family system; like many other men, he 
had refused the wife chosen by his family, although she had been taken 
into his father's home as daughter-in-law. He himself had followed the 
modern way and married an actress ; his family had not recognized the 
marriage and had refused to receive the new wife. Once he told me that 
he could love no woman over twenty who was not beautiful, did not have 
a willowy waist, or weighed more than a hundred pounds. Often when 
he and I sat in the tea-houses, the restaurants, or the old Peiping theatre 
I would ask him to select from the women around us those he considered 

"You choose empty, baby-faced women," I told him. 

He was always sorry that I was a woman and that he could not smuggle 
me into an evening party at the home of some wealthy hetara, mistress of 
one of his patrician friends. He himself had no courtesan mistress, but 
how and then let his gaze fall upon the wife of some other man. . 

Some modern men married educated women, but soon the family 
system devoured the wives. The wife ceased to keep abreast of her 
husband intellectually. While he sought love outside the home, she 
became merely the mother of his children. When I asked such a wife 
what she read, she answered : "Oh, you see, I graduated ten years ago 
and shortly afterwards married." 

A few strong-minded modern women kept pace intellectually with 
B 2 ,41 

their husbands. They were feminists of will and decision. Woe to the 
husband of such a woman if he tried to take a concubine or crept to a 
courtesan ! When I listened to these women I wondered if the old custom 
of foot-binding had not been simply a clever device to cripple women and 
keep them submissive. 

For a time I was a companion of the patricians; and with a few I 
remained good friends. To them I was not man, woman, concubine, or 
courtesan. I was a foreigner who was no longer young, was not beautiful, 
earned her own living, and associated with men as an equal. Neither 
wifehood nor love was my profession. 

Most of the patricians were humanists. Some, influenced by John 
Dewey, were pragmatists. Many, too, had been affected by Bertram! 
Russell's superlatively keen analyses of society and his crystal-clear 
atheism. They agreed with him, as I did, that if there had been no fear 
of death, there would have been no belief in immortality. (But they 
opposed his book on China because it praised China's evils and made the 
young people arrogant.) 

In their pragmatism these patricians tended to distrust any movements 
that had not proved practicable. They approved American democracy, 
but questioned Russian Communism. I argued that the Soviet Union 
no less than America had had to chart a new course in history and, like 
Revolutionary America, was fighting for it against European opposition ; 
but they asserted that Marxism was still only an experiment in the Soviet 
Union and had not proved itself. Many Chinese students believed in it, 
and some peasants and workers in southern China were fighting for it, 
but they themselves opposed it. Some insisted that there were no classes 
in China and that this idea had merely been invented by Marxists. One 
told me he thought the Chinese Communists should be given a province 
in which to experiment ; if it proved practicable, other provinces might 
copy it. Science and education were the way to progress, they said ; look 
what science had done in the West. I argued, of course, that Communists 
also used science and education. 

One patrician, an interesting and thoughtful man, was an anthropologist 
who spent much time excavating ancient Chinese settlements in the 
valley of "China's Sorrow", the Yellow River; buildings, utensils, works 
of art, oracle bones, and even cowrie shells, a form of money fashioned 
like the female genital organ perhaps a relic of some ancient matriarchal 
system were unearthed. This was valuable and precious, I admitted, 
but what about the present? The region in which they worked wa the 
scene of wars, Yellow River floods, and famine. Millions of peasants bad 
repeatedly been driven from their homes. For a bowl of noodles or rice 
they had sold their land to war-lords, landowners, or officials. Even 
their most essential possessions primitive agricultural implement* hacfr 
to be bartered in the market. Their sons poured into the armies to 'earn 
tfceir nee; their wives and children were sold as servants, and their 

daughters as prostitutes or concubines. Driven by hunger, these peasants 
had stripped the land of all shrubs and trees, selling them as fuel in order 
that they themselves might eat. When the rains came, no plant was left 
to hold the water in the soil. "China's Sorrow" overflowed and desolated 
the land. Then had come the wind storms. The top soil had been whirled 
away in great clouds, and the desert had crept ever nearer. In some 
Chinese cities one could walk on sand dunes that rose to the top of the 
city walls. Soon, I said, they too would become buried cities of the past. 

"Why unearth dead cities now?" I asked. "Excavate them fifty years 
hence when the conditions that make more dead cities have been wiped 

Of course, that meant taking part in politics, and of course politics was 
corrupt and dangerous. Even if the patricians entered politics, they 
would merely be swallowed up, I was told. They must wait for better 
days, they said. But I wondered who could afford to wait. 

In Peiping I visited a match factory. All but the foremen and a few 
men manning the engine were little children who had been bought from 
the peasants. Long lines of them, some hardly more than babies, stood 
twelve hours a day before trays filled with matches, their small hands 
working like lightning as they filled match-boxes. A foreman carrying 
a short stick walked back and forth along the aisles. 

Each day the children were fed two meals of millet gruel and salt ; 
sometimes there were a few bits of greens and sometimes a little lard. 
To keep warm they slept crowded close together on long k'angs, earthen 
platforms extending the length of barrack-like rooms and weakly heated 
by a coiling flue beneath. I asked about one child, covered by a thin 
quilt, lying on a Kang. He had been sick for three days; no one knew 
why and there was no medical care. He would either live or die. 

In China death moved about as bold as a lord. It found a home in the 
grisly poverty of peasant huts. It came in the form of tuberculosis or 
heart failure to miners and factory workers. It haunted the dreams of 
the rich, who armed themselves with foreign machine-guns to meet the 
threat of peasant rebellions such* as had overthrown dynasty after 
dynasty. Foreigners living luxuriously in the port cities feared it in every 
advance made by China, whether through the nationalist Kuomintang 
or through a peasant revolution led by Communists. 

Death walked arm in arm with poor students, but they braved it and 
thought only in terms of the social revolution. So I said to the patricians : 
"Your philosophy of death is false ! The students do not accept it. Else 
why are they rebellious, searching the whole world for the way to a better 

In these degenerate days, argued the patricians, students were un- 
disciplined and irresponsible, using school and university dormitories 
merely as centres of propaganda. How true this was I do not know. 
Certainly some students Ij^d become revolutionaries overnight. Was this 


not because they had no way of putting into practice what they learned? 
Forbidden by tradition to do physical labour, they were frail, delicate, 
almost a race apart. Despite this, many students, studying intensely, 
became critical and bitter, challenging death and intimidated neither by 
prowling spies nor by policemen's clubs. 

Some patricians gave me a dinner one night, and I began to understand 
why many foreigners loved Peiping, cultivated Chinese friends, and 
studied the language. We started for a restaurant that had in other days 
entertained nobility. Leaving the compound of the old Chinese house 
where I lived, I pulled the red-lacquered door behind me just as a coolie 
was passing. My fur coat seemed to awaken some childhood memory in 
him. With his face turned towards the wintry sky he broke into a lullaby 
about a tiger with a fierce fur skin but a tender heart beneath. Until he 
reached the corner he sang to a cold snowy world ; then, surely, as did the 
whole leisure-loving Peiping populace, he halted in a crowd to laugh at 
a clown or juggler, a dancing bear, or perhaps some big swordsmen 
from Shantung performing in the streets. 

My friends joined me. As we entered the old Chinese restaurant, 
waiters bawled until the open rafters trembled : "Eight guests arrived !" 

Singsong girls were wailing, apparently running scales and taking in 
all the flats as they passed to the accompaniment of a screeching 
Chinese violin. The songs were from some Peiping opera. The singing 
mingled with the raised voices of men playing the finger drinking game 
in which the loser must each time drain his cup dry. Their voices 
mingled with those of waiters bawling announcements of new guests. 
The noise must have warmed the heart of the restaurant-owner, for he 
kept smiling and bowing. 

Several waiters brought open charcoal braziers to our room, and 
others appeared with many small cups of various wines, one of them the 
cool, white, treacherous bet-gar. After my hosts had sampled the liquors, 
they gave their orders, and soon small pitchers of cold bei-gar and hot 
wine were brought in, along with platters ofhsiao chirk literally "small 
eats". Then came the manager, ever bowing and smiling, and*behind 
him a column of waiters with the famous Peiping ducks, ready plucked, 
which we had seen hanging from the rafters as we entered. Our hosts 
felt the various ducks like connoisseurs, selected the best, and sent them 
away to be braised. 

Meanwhile we sat about drinking from our ever-full wine-cups, eating, 
laying down our chopsticks politely, and conversing. One short fat guest 
lifted his cup and cried : "Bottoms up !" That reminded him of a friend 
who had not quite mastered English, but wished to show off before some 
foreign guests. He had lifted his wine-cup and solemnly announced: 
"We will now show our. bottoms !" 

Once after a gale of laughter had subsided, one of my hosts exclaimed : 
"I repeat : There are no classes in China. Classes ! Marxians invented 

the idea ! My ricksha coolie and t can laugh and talk like old friends as 
he pulls me through the streets." 

"Would you be his friend if you had to pull him through the street?" 
I interrupted. "Or if he revolted? You are friends only so long as he 
accepts his inferior position." 

"/ also am a proletarian. I work for my living," replied my table 
companion complacently. 

One of my hosts lifted a heap of fried chicken livers on his chopsticks 
and placed them on my small plate. The poet who later on became my 
friend called for paper, brush, and ink and began to create a Chinese 
name for me. I objected to such a name as Beautiful Plum Blossom or 
Lotus Bud or Perfumed Brook. Finally he gave me the old Chinese 
family name of "Shih" and added the two syllables "mei ling". When I 
rejected the latter, he merely Latinized the name to "Shih Mei Di Li", 
which had no meaning at all ; but because it had four syllables he called 
me a Mongol. My christening called for more wine and for a poem about 
the waves of the sea. I seem to have responded with a song. It must 
have been "The Streets of Laredo", for that is the one song I. really 
know. It was hailed as a work of classical art. 

Then the duck ! First we all sat and looked at it admiringly, assuring 
each other that it was a thing to see, then die. Our hosts shook their 
heads deprecatingly, calling it most inferior. With a slight clatter we 
levelled our chopsticks on the table, then all plunged in together, lifting 
bits of the thin-sliced skin and flesh onto the fine pieces of unleavened 
pancake before us. We tapped them elegantly with a mixture of sauces, 
laid a baby onion on top, rolled the pancake up, and took a bite. We 
closed our eyes prayerfully for a second, then looked at our hosts grate- 
fully, like beggars. The dams of sound split wide open after that. We 
drank and ate, pausing only to argue amiably about Chinese women and 
patricians and proletarians. The courses kept coming and the wine 

When at last we rose to depart, a waiter went into the courtyard and 
bawled out the size of our tip, and as we went down the courtyard 
another waiter took up the cry. A third echoed it as we passed out. We 
were like an army of generals parading between columns of saluting 
privates. This gave us tremendous "face" and encouraged other guests 
to give generously. What a difference it makes if a waiter bawls out a tip 
of two dollars rather than ten cents ! 

We rode home in rickshas through the cold white streets, and someone 
behind me begaji to run scales in high falsetto about a prisoner who 
refused to be rescued because the prison was the prison of love. I took 
an oath that I would never, never leave Peiping, but would become a 
.patrician myself, even if it took all my life. This oath became mixed up 
with thoughts about my ricksha coolie silently running like a tired horse 
before me, his heaving breath interrupted by a rotten cough. Suddenly 


his broad shoulders began to remind me of my father's. I was a dog and 
the whole lot of us were dogs ! 

"Listen, you!" I screamed at my hosts in most unpatrician tones. 
"Get out and pull your ricksha coolie home ! Let's all get out and pull 
our ricksha coolies home ! Let's prove there are ho classes in China !" 


As MY TRAIN roared southwards from Peiping, I sat with my face 
pressed against the window of my compartment, staring at the great 
plains of the north. The whistle wailed inhumanly as we plunged 
onward into the hard white night. Graves, graves, graves, countless 
ancestral graves in countless ancestral fields! Always the presence of 
death ! A few naked trees along the railway embankment . . . now and 
then the dark crenellated walls of some ancient city. . . . My heart filled 
with loneliness; I recalled the old Japanese "Wanderer's Song' 1 : 

The night is bitter cold, 

Our hearts are lonely. 

Like birds of passage we travel. 

Even through wind and snow, 

Still we must travel the long road. 

Then Nanking, the Chinese capital : a few modern Chinese Govern- 
ment buildings, the beautiful structures of several mission universities, 
fine new villas under construction, and, beyond, the new S^n Yat-sen 
mausoleum, where the body of the founder of the Republic would soon 
be laid in uneasy rest. The blue-and-white mass of the tomb arose on 
the side of Purple Mountain like a glorified Standard Oil station, its 
garishness cast in high relief by the simple majesty of the near-by tomb 
of the founder of the Ming Dynasty. 

The young Kuomintang official who had been sent to guide me 
seemed to embody all the bastard fusions of the Chinese Revolution. In 
a foreign business suit, he stood on the flat roof of the ancient Ming tomb 
and sang "The Spanish Cavalier". As he and I left the inn where I was 
staying, an automobile whirled by, crushing a dog under its wheels. 
When I gasped and halted, the young man exclaimed : "I'm surprised ! 
I thought you a woman of the world !" We halted to hire rickshas, and 
the young fellow, whose name was Moh, chose two old men who were 
dressed in rags and looked like scarecrows. He then gave me some 
friendly advice concerning the selection of ricksha coolies: "Always take 
the older and poorer ones. They cannot afford to bargain very long and 
will always take less than the young coolies. 9 ' 

After visiting the tombs we went to the foot of thfc hill, where we met 
Colonel J. L. Hwang, a huge bulky man, head of the new Officers* Moral 
Endeavour Association, who was to show me through the Central 

Military Academy and his Association. Before leaving, Colonel Hwang 
took me through a small cottage still under construction. 

"This house," he explained, "is being built for Madame Sun Yat-sen, 
the widow of the late Dr. Sun. She will live here near the tomb/ 9 

"Do you think M^iame Sun will live here?" I asked. 

"Oh, certainly! She is a member of the Central Committee of the 
party!" t 

"I thought she was in exile." 

His manner and voice became offensively sarcastic. He asked if she 
was in Moscow and where was Borodin? 

Through my mind flashed the thought : "So this is the way they fight !" 
I answered that Madame Sun was in Germany, or so I had heard. But 
what remained with me always was the unscrupulousness of the remark. 
Colonel Hwang was one of the most trusted retainers of General and 
Madame Chiang Kai-shek; in fact, foreign journalists called him the 
"Grand Eunuch' 9 . My resentment had nothing to do with Madame 
Sun's personality, for I had never regarded her as sacred. Her ability 
and knowledge were said to be limited, but she was a woman of integrity 
and unblemished character. She had even gone into exile rather than 
permit her name to be misused by the Kuomintang. Both Chinese and 
Japanese of feudal outlook, I found, often used personal attacks to dis- 
credit either women or political movements. 

Despite this episode and countless others like it, I sincerely sympathized 
with the Government's hope of freeing itself from the shackles of those 
unfair treaties into which China had once entered. I interviewed high 
officials, particularly those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and tried to 
be scrupulously fair in my articles. At the same time I told officials over 
many a dinner-table that I would not wish to see extraterritoriality 
abolished if it meant that I and other Americans might be subjected to 
their medieval laws and perhaps be thrown into their barbarous prisons. 

When I first arrived in Nanking, the Kuomintang Congress was in 
session. No journalist, Chinese or foreign, was permitted to attend. 
After it was finished, the party handed out propaganda which it naively 
expected correspondents to cable abroad. There were some progressive 
nationalists in the Kuomintang, one of them Dr. T. V. Soong, the Minis- 
ter of Finance, but they had little power. Somewhere in the heaps of 
.propaganda literature I had read that the Kuomintang had 39,000 
members. I asked an official if this referred to the whole country or only 
Nanking, He looked uneasy and answered evasively. The fact was that 
the Kuomintang had only 39,000 piembcrs out of a population of 
450,000,000 people, that it had become, in other words, a small dosed 
corporation of government officials and their subordinates. Even some 
of these despised its practices, yet remained members because they would 
not get positions otherwise. 

On this, my first trip to Nanking, I still believed that the Kuomintang 


represented at least China's national interests. Its representatives talked 
of labour unions, but seemed to expect me to take their word that such 
unions existed. I asked to visit the unions. The young official given me 
as guide and interpreter first took me to a factory. The British manager 
refused to allow me to enter and merely instructed his comprador, a very 
oily and prosperous-looking Chinese, to talk to me. The Chinese simply 
askefl me to take his word for factory conditions. After this travesty of a 
visit we went to a near-by building where we found a solitary man asleep 
with his head on the table. Apart from the table and two chairs, the only 
other things in the room were a teapot and two cups in front of the sleeper. 
This was the union office. When we awakened the man, he stood up 
sleepily and I saw a typical student who, judging by his evasive talk, 
seemed to have been sent to wait for me. He was utterly unable to 
answer any question even as to the number of members of the union. 
When I asked how the weekly dues, deducted from the workers* wages, 
were spent, he made no attempt to answer. 

I learned later that the trade-union fees were merely a tribute im- 
posed on the workers by the Kuomintang. Its function was to collect 
money and prevent any workers' activity. Together with the factory- 
owners and compradors, it ferreted out discontented workers and branded 
them as Communists. 

My guide seemed anxious to become friendly with me, and I wondered 
why. I had once told him of my articles on the Japanese control of 
Manchuria and he had asked to take them home to read. Shortly after, 
a university professor congratulated him, in my presence, on the series of 
articles on Manchuria which he was publishing. After the wife of the 
professor read one to me, I asked Mr. Moh why he published my articles 
as his own. Completely unperturbed, he explained that he had no high 
family connections or friends in the Government, and consequently held 
so subordinate a position and received so low a salary that he could not 
marry. To be promoted, he must prove himself an authority on such a 
subject as Manchuria. Also, he explained, high officials, including the 
head of his department, entertained great respect for men with foreign 
connections. If I would help him, he pointed out, he could help me. 
Would I, for example, consider acting as an adviser to the Department 
of Labour? I said that I could not because as a foreign correspondent I 
had to keep free of official entanglements. He assured me that my namQ 
would never be mentioned and no one would know of the salary. "A 
number of other foreigners are listed as advisers," he explained, "some to 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. TJiey all draw salaries from the Govern- 


When I still refused, he sadly observed that I was an idealist. 

As he talked I recalled how he selected only ricksha coolies who could 
be easily underpaid and how callously he had reacted to the rna"g1ig of 
the dog. And then there was that remarkable episode on Confucian 
48 , 

Street, where the prostitutes were kept. In an open space he and I had 
come upon a large tent roof under which about a hundred coolies and 
workers were squatting in total silence, listening to an old story-teller. I 
had halted, but Mr. Moh had objected nervously, saying that no re- 
spectable person associated with such low characters. Only when I 
insisted did he consent to remain. Soon I induced him to translate 
for me. 

The story-teller was perhaps fifty years old and clad in a long dark 
gown and a small round skull-cap. He was telling an ancient tale of 
heroism and patriotism, and when his hero spoke philosophically, the 
story-teller sang. He held a pair of bamboo clap-sticks and clicked them 
softly together to maintain the rhythm of his tale. I was enthralled by the 
sheer beauty of his voice and the artistry of his deUvf ry. Sometimes he 
laid aside the bamboo, took up two other sticks, and beat a rhythm on a 
small drum. Sometimes his voice and the drumming would rise to a 
crescendo; then they would drop again and he would resume his 

At last Mr. Moh's protests prevailed and we left. He began to lecture 
me on the proper way to act in China, the people to avoid and those to 
cultivate. I asked him who the story-teller was. Probably some useless 
creature, he answered, who had failed in the State examinations under 
the Manchu Dynasty and was compelled to earn his living by telling 
tales of the past. When I questioned him about his own amusements, he 
mentioned a number of trashy American movies. I was learning a great 
deal from Mr. Moh. 

Soon afterwards we sat in the tea-room of an old Buddhist temple 
overlooking Lotus Lake and he confided to me the secrets of his past. He 
had formerly been much attracted to Communism, but after 1927, when 
such beliefs had become a crime, he had changed his "line". Only low 
characters remained Communists. Down in Kiangsi Province the Com- 
munists were organizing and arming peasants who could not even read 
and write and they were killing respectable people. Some workers and 
students also remained Communists, but the Government was weeding 
them out and killing them. 

"Killing?" I asked. "Right here in the capital?" 

"Of course," he replied indifferently. "If you want to see for yourself, 
I can take you." 

I could only stare wonderingly into his bland eyes and smooth, weak 

A few month; later, in Shanghai, I again met Mr. Moh. He looked 
sleek and prosperous. He had become chief factory-inspector in the 
' Chinese section of Shanghai, and found the owners and managers most 
to-operative. At last he was going to be married. 

"I think I have done as well as I could," he remarked thoughtfully. 
"The girl is a graduate of a missionary school* speaks English, and has 

good foreign conaections. Her family is quite rich; it is a 
family. I considered for a long time, but it seems die best I can do." 

Through my mind ran the lines of an old Chinese poem written by 
Su Tung-po : 

Families, when a child is born, 
Wish it to be intelligent. ( 

I, through intelligence, 
Having wrecked my whole life, 
Only hope the child will prove 
Ignorant and stupid, 
Then he will crown a glorious career 
By becoming a Cabinet Minister. 1 

In search of what a Kuomintang official had referred to as important 
agrarian reforms, f ? went with two professors of Central University to an 
experimental station several hours' walking distance from Nanking. The 
professors had induced a landlord to allow them to experiment on his 
estate with some good American seeds, chemical fertilizer, and modern 
ploughs for deep ploughing. Some twenty boys of primary-school age 
studied in the school connected with the experiment. They were all 
children of the landlord's family or of his friends. A crowd of ragged 
village children followed us curiously. None were in school. Their 
families were too poor to buy decent clothing. That was the agrarian 
reform ! 

On our return trip to Nanking, we halted in a village tea-house to rest. 
A number of shabby villagers congregated, and I asked one of the pro- 
fessors to act as interpreter for me. I found that about half a dozen of 
them owned one or two mou of land (a mou is one-sixth of an acre), but 
that the others were tenants or land labourers. Tenants paid fifty per 
cent of the crop as rent, and if the landlord's wife had another son, or if 
there was a funeral or a marriage, and at New Year's time they had to 
make additional presents. All peasants were in debt to the landlord, 
paying interest of three or more per cent a month if they could offer land, 
a draft animal, or agricultural implements as security. If they did not 
have these they could get no loans. 

The villages were made up of disorderly mud huts fronted by open 
sewers. Almost every villager seemed to have a skin disease and the 
children had scabby heads and boils. On one side of the village pond 
women washed vegetables or dipped up water to be boiled for drinking; 
on the other side they scrubbed out their wooden night-soil buckets. 
The night-soil itself was used as fertilizer for the fields. On hot days the 
children swam in the pond. Everywhere in the fields lay the ancestral 

A few weeks later an agrarian research scholar who had come to 
Nanking to,get official permission to make a survey of a certain district 

1 Translation by Arthur Waley, 

between Nanking and Shanghai invited me to accompany him* About 
a year before there had been an uprising in the district and forty peasants 
had been killed on the estate of the most powerful landlord. 

We waited until the autumn harvest, then boarded a steam launch on 
the Grand Canal at Wusih and chugged northward. As luck would have 
it, the powerful landlord, Chu, was on board the launch. He was an 
unusually tall and formidable-looking man, wearing a long grey silk 
gown. He had an armed bodyguard wearing a khaki uniform. 

Mr. Chu invited us to be his guests, and we accepted. My scholar 
friend, a frail man with a cautious manner, remarked that if we refused 
we might as well not go to the region at all. 

Gossiping freely, Mr. Ghu told us he had left his elder son in Wusih 
to bring up some new American rifles and a machine-gun which he had 
just purchased in Shanghai. His younger son, a lad of eighteeif, was a 
student in the Central University at Nanking, but was now home and 
had just been married to the daughter of a respectable Wusih silk mer- 
chant. He himself was the chief government official in his district, head 
of a Kuomintang branch, and commander of an armed force which he 
called the Volunteer Corps. He was therefore the political, military, and 
legal head of his territory judge, jury, and executioner. 

We reached hid ancestral village, Chu Cha Li, and found a crowd of 
ragged villagers gathered along the bank. From the ranks of these came 
more armed guards who threw a protecting ring around us as we stepped 
ashore and moved down the narrow cobblestoned village street. The 
crowd followed in silence. As we left the village and moved into the 
countryside, my scholar friend and I dropped behind to talk to one of the 
guards. They were northern soldiers, the man said, brought here because 
they could not speak the local dialect and had no relatives among the 
local peasants. Two days before, they told us, the Chu family had 
arrested two peasants. 

We approached a sprawling building of great size, three sides walled 
like a fortress, and the fourth moated by a pond. The building and 
pond were surrounded by a barricade of tangled barbed wire, inside of 
which were trenches. The doors of the building were pierced with loop- 
holes for rifles. 

Passing into the main building, we found ourselves in a huge hall with 
a stone floor and with great red-lacquered pillars which supported 
heavy beams and a tiled roof. When servants lit the tall red candles, we 
saw that the entire hall was hung with rich crimson banners embroidered 
in gold. These jvere decorations for the younger son's wedding; they 
expressed wishes for long life, prosperity, happiness, and many 

The whole Chu joint family began to gather, together with the armed 
guards who lived within the building itself. We sat down to tea and cakes, 
served with great formality by the head of the Chu clan. Meaningless 

conventional phrases were exchanged until I felt as though I were in the 
castle of some lord of the Middle Ages. Tea-time gradually melted into 
supper. My friend instructed me to conform to custom and ask to see 
the bride. The bridegroom was already with us, and soon the bride, a 
pretty young woman, older than her husband, obeyed our summons. 
We all rose and bowed and she sat down primly. I asked her about her 
educational work. Complacently she answered that all Chinese were 
inferior to foreigners and Chinese education was most inferior indeed. I 
could only stare at her in amazement. 

My scholar friend instructed me to follow custom by toasting the bride 
and groom. We all rose, lifting our wine-cups, and I wished them long 
life and many sons. Just then I heard the clanking of chains from a dark 
corner of the great hall somewhere behind the crowd of people and 
soldiers? My friend had heard the sound, but his face was blank. No one 
turned to look. 

The supper finished, we accompanied the married couple to their bed- 
room in an interior courtyard. The room was jammed with rich, brass- 
studded mahogany furniture. The young couple sat on the edge of the 
bed and served us tea and sliced pears while we congratulated them on 
their wedding presents. My friend told them that I had exclaimed at the 
remarkable beauty of the bride. I asked him afterwards not to lie any 
more than was necessary. 

With relief we at last wandered out into the great hall. It was now 
empty save for a group of soldiers in a corner, and one of the Chu 
brothers, a tall, strong man in a long gown. Around his waist was a 
cartridge belt from which hung a Mauser automatic. My friend's 
assistant engaged this gentleman in conversation and finally manoeuvred 
him out into the open, leaving my scholar friend and me to talk to the 

Utterly unlike the educated and ruling classes, the common people of 
China usually speak with the greatest frankness. The soldiers told us 
that the clanking we had heard while at supper had been caused by two 
more peasants who had been brought in as prisoners. Without hesita- 
tion they took us into a small room where the two men were held. They 
lay on rice straw with their hands and legs chained and the chains 
attached to an iron clamp in the wall. One peasant was of middle age, 
dark, thin, and sensitive-looking; the other a youth of about twenty with 
a bloated, unusually stupid face. They would answer none of our 
questions, and only stared up at us in silence. We left them, and the 
soldiers stood by with downcast faces. Outside it wqp night and the 
moon was full. The flat countryside lay silent, brooding. I felt that it 
somehow reflected my dark fears. 

That night I was assigned to sleep in a room crowded with dark heavy 
furniture. There were two other beds in the room, one occupied by two 
girls of the Chu family, the other by a married couple. I got behind the 

curtains of my bed and removed Only my coat, then lay down to a night 
of sleeplessness, my ears straining for every sound from the great hall. 
Sometimes I dozed off, my mind swarming with fantasies in which I 
moved stealthily to the great hall to unleash the prisoners ... no, the 
soldiers were there* ... I tried again and was on the roof removing tiles 
so that the prisoners could reach my hands ... I lay flat to lift them up 
. . . they crept carefully along the tiled roof, dropped down the straight 
walls of the bastion, and crept through the brooding fields. . . . 

With a jerk I sat up in bed, fully awake, then lay down again. The 
fantasies returned and again I awoke. And always Jfear was with me 
fear of China, fear of human beings. 

With the first faint streaks of dawn through the small square window 
high up in the prison-like wall of my room, I rose and made my way into 
the great hall. My friends and the armed Ghu brother were there. 
Soldiers were leading the stupid peasant youth out of the little room into 
an adjoining courtyard. In the grey dawn I saw that the thin face of my 
scholar friend was drawn and pale. Neither he nor his assistant had 

On orders from the Ghu brother, soldiers clapped steel handcuffs on 
the wrists of the peasant youth, then tucked his hands up into his sleeves. 
A group of the guards and one of the Chu family, all now dressed in 
civilian clothing, their pistols hidden beneath their long gowns, drove the 
peasant before them. He stumbled as he walked. 

"He will betray others !" I exclaimed to my friend, but he muttered : 
"They will find no one. Every peasant knows of the arrests. They know 

"What will they do to that youth?" I cried desperately. "Where is the 
older man? Can you do nothing?" 

"It is dangerous to try," was his answer. "We must do nothing to 
interfere with our survey. Make no sign. Today we are going to the 

During the day one of the Chu men led us from village to village. 
Armed soldiers walked before us and behind us. All villages were named 
after the Chu family; all land, all peasants belonged to it. The villages 
were groups of filthy hovels with earthen floors and walls. The beds 
were boards on which shoddy coverings lay piled in disarray. A few 
primitive agricultural implements were stacked in corners and a few 
broken clay cooking vessels lay on the floor. As we approached, un- 
kempt women and girls hid in the dark huts. To them we were govern- 
ment officials, guests of their lord. 

One old peasaht brought a sheaf of rice and laid it on the earth before 
the Chu brother. Half-crouching, he pleaded for mercy because rust had 
ruined half his crop. 

In a hard voice the Chu lord told us that these peasants were so dis- 
honest that he had to station guards in the fields to superintend the 


harvests. If given a chance, they stole rice. A number of peasant men 
listened, standing upright, their arms crossed on their breasts. My friend 
tried to talk with them, but they stared silently at him, their level, un- 
fathomable black eyes filled with hatred. He glanced meaningfully at me. 

As soon as we were alone I exclaimed : "An- army ought to march in, 
imprison the Chu family, and free the peasants !" 

"Which army?" my friend asked. 

I met the scholar in Shanghai a week later and said : "Last night I 
dined with some German business men and told them of the Chu family 
and the peasants. They criticized my attitude furiously. To hear them 
talk, you would think such an attitude as' mine was their funeral!" 

"It is !" my friend answered dryly. 

He and his kind were revolutionary democrats I had stumbled upon, 
men who, like the patricians, had inherited the finest features of Chinese 
culture and added to it a gleaning of the best of the Western world. But 
unlike other patricians, they had placed their minds at the service of the 




1 HE FACE OF the young Y.M.C.A. librarian took on a pained 
expression when I said : "I wonder how many Chinese are 'rice Chris- 
tians' men who convert only to eat." 

"There is no way of knowing," he replied. "Our secretaries seem to 
leap right into Government positions. Yesterday our secretary tiptoed 
around and gave us orders to go to the Assembly to pray because General 
Chiang Kai-shek had joined the Southern Methodist Church. He 
seemed scared." 

"Many Chinese Christians scare me," I exclaimed, "whether Southern 
Methodist or not! When a Chinese business man adds Christianity to 
his equipment, it's a formidable combination. Piety, smiles, and hand- 
shakes combined with a business head are " 

Two young men entered and asked about books. The librarian closed 
the booklet which I had brought to him for translation. Its title was The 
Gospel according to St. John, but after a few pages of the Gospel it tapered 
off into "The Great Chinese Revolution". When the young men left, 
the librarian opened the booklet again and continued to translate 
chapter titles to me. It was a "forbidden book", perhaps published by 
the Communists, but bearing the name of a non-existent Christian Pub- 
lication Society. The young librarian already had many such volumes, 
all with Christian or Confucian titles. 

The librarian was a fountain of information. He gathered suppressed 
news from functionaries of the "Y", official friends, newspaper men, and 
from gossip in restaurants and tea-houses. He was not a Communist, but 
merely a young man concerned about the welfare of his people* If the 

Government offered anything of value, he read it, and if the Communists 
published anything beneficial to the people, he read that too. 

One day the young librarian turned to me and asked : "Would you 
like to go down into the Yangtzepoo factory district to see worker*' 
tenements? I could take you tomorrow. Many tenements ate ovrtfd by 
the Catholic Church." 

I consented eagerly, and late the next afternoon I went to meet him 
at his home. He lived in one of the countless "semi-foreign" houses that 
disfigure Shanghai. These were long rows of connected buildings on 
lanes and alley-ways off the main streets. The ground floor always had 
one square living-room with a small, dark kitchen and a totally dark, un- 
ventilated toilet. If a clerk reared in a missionary school lived there, 
there might be a worn volume of American Popular Home Songs, a hymnal, 
a moving-picture magazine, coloured prints of the Grand Central 
Terminal in New York, or of a lady sitting on the edge of a fountain 
listening to a lover in kjnee breeches while a cupid with an arrow floated 

Here in Shanghai was none of the spacious, leisurely charm of ancient 
Peiping, none of those beautiful, spreading buildings and coloured tile 
roofs. For most Chinese, Shanghai was a shabby, barren city. 

As I knocked at the librarian's door that afternoon, I was startled by 
a long-drawn-out "Sh-h-h-h !" from the window above and, glancing up, 
saw the face of the librarian. A few seconds later he opened the door and 
cautiously admitted me. 

Without a word he motioned me up the stairs to the floor above. 
From a back window overlooking another row of small semi-foreign 
houses I looked down on a group of Chinese and foreign detectives ham- 
mering on a door. Faces appeared at all the windows up and down the 
lane, then withdrew into shadow again. The door across from us was 
opened by a tall thin man in a long gown. Two detectives lunged at him, 
and others followed them into the room. A woman's voice screamed in 
terror, and we saw her, followed by the detectives, in the upper room 
directly across from us. She ran about wildly, then threw her arm against 
the wall and buried her head against it. The detectives ripped open the 
mattress and pillows and then searched the rest of the house. There was 
little to look for in that poor home, and within a few minutes they had 
finished. The street door of the house opened again and several of the 
detectives emerged with a tall thin man and the woman, both handcuffed. 
The woman's face was grey and the man's mouth was smeared with blood. 
Their thin bodies- were outlined by their cotton gowns as they walked 
away. * 

Downstairs in the barren living-room the sister-in-law of the librarian 
exclaimed excitedly: "Some of the detectives have remained ifc the 
house to wait for friends of that couple. A girl friend of mine often goes 
there. I dare not go to warn her not to come. I might be arrested.** 


"I'll go," I offered. "They can't arrest an American for calling on 
a girl." 

The woman sighed with relief) and I memorized the name and address 
she gave me. 

"She speaks good English, 5 * she cautioned, "so if detectives open the 
door," say you are looking for an English-teacher. Wait until I see if our 
lane is clear." ? 

She ran upstairs, and after a time whispered down that I should 

Once out on the main street, I meandered along, window-shopping 
until certain that no one was following. I then hailed a taxi and drove 
away, dismissed it at the centre of the city, walked a block, took another, 
and dismissed it a short distance from my destination. As I walked 
through another lane of small semi-foreign houses, I wondered if detec- 
tives would open the door of the girl's house. My heart hammered as I 
knocked briskly. No answer. Then right above me a window opened 
cautiously. Glancing up,' I saw the face of a beautiful girl with large 
black eyes and shingled hair. 

"Come quickly!" I whispered. 

There was the sound of running feet, and the door opened. I stepped 
inside and told her of the raid. Her gleaming eyes grew larger and she 
glanced at her bookcase. The mildest social novel might lead to im- 
prisonment. Countless such young people were spending their entire 
youth behind prison walls. 

"Give me anything you wish," I urged. "You can reach me through 
the friend who sent me." 

Quickly she went to the bookcase and began to pull out books, among 
them a copy of Gorky's Mother. She ran upstairs and returned with some 
magazines wrapped in a package. 

I walked back through the streets of this jungle city where detectives 
and gangsters hunted all men and women who entertained any thoughts 
other than the official ones. Within half an hour the girl would have 
moved her dwelling and would be warning all her friends. For, however 
strong the bond of family, friend, or comrade, torture might break it 
down. Those to whom the revolution had been only a romantic adven- 
ture or those Communist Party officials who had grown mercenary 
sometimes betrayed their comrades even without torture. A few im- 
portant Communist betrayers had even entered the Kuomintang secret 
service, afterwards known as ttie "Blue Shirts", and agents travelled in 
trains and buses, prowled through tea-houses and cheap restaurants, 
or went through prisons pointing out their former comrades. Others 
bought their lives by publishing "repentances". If any of these returned 
to their old haunts, suspicion hung over them, and often years could not 
dispel the shadow. To a Communist I once remarked : 

"It seems you trust only the dead !" 
56 ' 

"If we make betrayal easy, China is lost!" he answered. 

"Your suspicion can also create betrayers. If you close your door, 
perhaps they will eventually enter the doors of the Blue Shirts. 19 

"We have ways of knowing if a man has really escaped or not." Star- 
ing past me into space, he added : "The Kuomintang trust no man who 
has once been a Communist, for if he has betrayed us, he can betray 
them. They also know that our ideas, once implanted in a man's mind, 
arc never entirely eradicated." 

"An unwilling tribute, isn't it?" 

"Yes. There are a number of men in the Government who were once 
Communists. Some of them will always help us not because they 
believe, but because they know the future belongs to us, and they want 
a kind of life insurance. But the secret service has killed many who have 
gone over to them. They suck all information from them and then dis- 
pose of them like squeezed-out oranges." 

A young Chinese, Feng Da, acted as my secretary and translator. He 
read and clipped from the Chinese Press, translated news into English, 
and built up my files. My files on the Chinese Red Army alone filled 
many cases, but most of these were official reports. At the end of one 
six-month period I compiled official statistics and found that half a 
million Red soldiers had been reported slain, yet official releases still 
claimed that the Red Army consisted only of "bandit remnants" fleeing 
from their pursuers. Chu Teh, Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army, 
and Mao Tze-tung, Secretary General of the Communist Party, had been 
reported killed a dozen times. A month following their "deaths", new 
rewards would be placed on their heads. 

I made a similar study of the execution of Communists or alleged Com- 
munists in various cities. Until 1932 the Chinese Press published details 
and often pictures of mass executions of the victims. One report from 
Chungking burned itself into my memory. The provincial Governor had 
offered a reward of fifty dollars for any Communist captured or killed. 
Immediately the schools and universities were raided by soldiers, and 
students were shot down in the streets. Then the murderers claimed their 
rewards. I once laid a summary of such reports before Eugene Chen, who 
had been Foreign Minister of the Chinese Government until the middle 
of 1927. He was a harsh critic of the Government, and he assured me 
that if he ever came to power again he would try to stop the Terror. 
When he rose to office in Canton in 1931, I went to him with a request 
that twelve sailors, arrested in Canton as trade-union organizers, should 
not be executed. He replied that the men had known what would happen 
to them if they engaged in such illegal activities and that he could do 

Similarly, in the spring of 1931 I went to the American secretary of 
the foreign Y.M.C.A. and asked him to help prevent the extradition to 


the Chinese police of two foreign trade-union officials arrested in 
Shanghai. He refused, saying that I had never come to him on behalf of 
any Chinese. He asserted that his concern was the Chinese, and that the 
rights of the poorest coolie were as sacred to him as those of any foreigner. 
I accepted the rebuke, and a few months later went to him on behalf 
of five Chinese, three of them trade-union organizers, who had been 
arrested and would perhaps be killed. He replied : 

"These men knew the law before they engaged in illegal activities. I 
can do nothing." 

Like other foreign correspondents, I had to build up my own news 
sources, and consequently maintained friendship with as many different 
types of Chinese and foreigners as I could. I liked the intellectual 
qualities of the scholar patricians and the outlook of a few newspaper 
men ; but I particularly admired and respected the revolutionary demo- 
crats who came later to be known as the National Salvationists, and the 
Communists, who, it seemed to me, embodied convictions and courage 
such as had characterized men of the French, American, and Russian 

For the rest, there was a barrier between most foreigners and myself, 
and I rarely met men of my own profession. Of these, however, John B. 
Powell, American editor of the China Weekly Review, struck me as a man 
of much integrity. Since he disliked the Communists and believed in the 
Kuomintang, we often disagreed, but he was one American democrat 
who always defended my right to think and write as I wished. We 
shared a fear and hatred of British and Japanese policies in the Far East, 
and after the Japanese invasion, which threw us together on a common 
front, he published everything I sent him. 

Years later, when the Japanese began assassinating Chinese news- 
paper men, Mr. Powell organized his colleagues to bury them decently 
and with honour. Only after the Japanese occupied Shanghai in 
December 1941 did he cease his fearless defence of China. He had been 
on the Japanese blacklist for years, and they soon arrested him, along 
with another American correspondent, Victor Keen. 

Among my other acquaintances was a German pilot in the Eurasian 
Aviation Corporation. He was a neurotic man, inclined to mysticism, 
and I remained in touch with him only because he was a valuable source 
of news. Returning from trips to various inland cities, he would give me 
photographs he had taken and much information* 

Again and again he declared that he saw no purpose in life. One 
afternoon, after a flight to Hankow, he entered my apartment and 
slumped into a chair. His face was pale and his lips were twitching. I 
poured him^a glass of cognac and waited for some new outburst about 
the futility of existence. He tossed a package of films and prints into my 
lap< A few of the prints showed various stages in the beheading of a 

dozen Chinese Communists that is, alleged Communists on the squaffc 
in front of the customs house in Hankow. A few showed the bodies of 
beheaded workers lying in the streets. One was of a very chic Chinese 
Army officer with a pistol in his hand ; behind him towered the walls of 
a foreign factory, and at its base lay the bodies of a number of workers 
whom he had apparently just shot. 

"I took all of these pictures with the exception of the one of the Army 
officer with the pistol," Kurt said. "The English factory-owner gave me 
that. I took the pictures of the mass beheadings from the windows of the 
customs house. The twelve men were naked to the waist and their hands 
were tied behind them. There were ropes around their necks and blood 
ran from the mouths of some of them. The police and soldiers were eager 
for the killing. They kicked the prisoners to their knees and pulled their 
heads forward by means of the ropes, while a fat executioner with a big 
sword chopped off their hfeads. The blood spurted out and some of it 
splashed on crowds of gaping Chinese, who stood with arms hanging 
limply at their sides." 

"Did you protest?" 

He continued without heeding: "One of the prisoners tumbled over 
and died before he was beheaded. A few were singing in high shrill 
voices. They sang the Internationale. When all were dead the police 
dipped faggot brooms in their blood and whirled them over the gawking 
crowd. The watchers ran like rabbits." 

He retched, rose and went to the bathroom. When he returned, his 
face was very white. 

"Look at this modern city, Kurt," I began excitedly. "Suppose you 
or I should tell people what we had seen show those pictures to 
missionaries, business men, journalists, Y.M.C.A. secretaries. This 
city look at it, with its paved streets, electric lights, great build- 
ings " 

"For my part, I don't intend to get lynched for a pack of Chinese ! 
Pm leaving this bloody country and going to Australia." 

"Chinese are a species of animal to you, aren't they?" 

Later that evening he told me that he had brought back some more 
pictures which had been taken from the air. This was forbidden by the 
Government, but he took them nevertheless. 

"I've earned enough money on them to live in Australia like a human 
being until I find work," he explained. 

I stared at hiip suspiciously, then asked: "Why do your bbsses want 
pictures of Chinese territory?" 

"I don't know or care?" 

"You're being used as a spy against China !" 

"China? How can you have any feeling for China? Just think of 
those picture! I brought you!" 


"Nevertheless this country belongs to the Chinese people. You are 
helping their enemies." 

"You're an illusionist!" he replied, and sat staring dejectedly into 
. space. 


ONE HOT AFTERNOON in the middle of 1930, two teachers, man 
and wife, called on me and made two requests: one, to contribute 
articles on India and money to a new magazine, Ta Tao (The Great Way), 
which was to be devoted to a study of subjected Asiatic peoples ; the 
other, to rent a small foreign restaurant where a reception and dinner 
could be given to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Lu Hsiin. Lu Hsiin 
was the great writer whom some Chinese called the "Gorky of China", 
but who, to my mind, was really its Voltaire. 

The first request I granted readily, but the second was fraught with 
danger, because the hundred men and women who were to be invited 
represented the world of "dangerous thoughts". My friends assured me, 
however, that all guests would be invited by word of mouth only and 
sworn to silence, and that "sentries" would be posted at street inter- 
sections leading to the restaurant. 

On the afternoon of the birthday celebration I stood with my two 
friends at the garden gate of a small Dutch restaurant in the French 
Concession. From our position we had a clear view of the long street by 
which the guests would come. At the street intersection before me I 
could see a Chinese in a long gown apparently waiting for a bus, while 
another sat on a near-by doorstep. 

Lu Hsiin, accompanied by his wife and small son, arrived early, and 
I met, for the first time, the man who became one of the most influential 
factors in my life during all my years in China. He was short and frail, 
and wore a cream-coloured silk gown and soft Chinese shoes. He was 
bareheaded and his close-cropped hair stood up like a brush. In struc- 
ture his face was like that of an average Chinese, yet it remains in my 
memory as the most eloquent face I have ever seen. A kind of living 
intelligence and awareness streamed from it. He spoke no English, but 
considerable German, and in that language we conversed. His manner, 
his speech, and his every gesture radiated the indefinable harmony and 
charm of a perfectly integrated personality. I suddenly felt as awkward 
and ungracious as a clod. 

Almost immediately came the stream of guests, and Lu Hsiin moved 
back into the ganfen. Repeatedly I turned to watch him, attracted by 
his thin hand raised in some gesture. 

As the guests went by, my two friends explained that they included 
writers, artists, professors, students, actors, reporters, research scholars, 

and even two patricians. This last pair came not because they shared 
Lu Hsun's convictions, but to honour his integrity, courage, and 

It was a motley and exciting gathering pioneers in an intellectual 
revolution. One group, poorly dressed and apparently half-starved, was 
pointed out as representing a new modern aesthetic theatre trying to edge 
in social dramas between Wilde's Salome and Lady Windermeris Fan. A 
more prosperous-looking group proved to be Futan University students 
led by Professor Hung Sheng. They had produced some of Ibsen's plays 
and one or two written by their professor, who was also a director of 
one of the first Chinese motion-picture companies. A third dramatic 
group was made up of young Leftist actors, writers, and translators who 
had produced plays by Remain Rolland, Upton Sinclair, Gorky, and 
Remarque. Much later they produced Carmen, were raided by police 
after the third performance, arreSted, and closed down. Detectives in the 
audience had not liked the last scene, in which Don Jos6 stabbed Carmen 
to death : as Carmen hurled her ring at her cast-off lover, she uttered 
words that reminded them of the split between the Communists and the 
Kuomintang ! 

From my place at the gate I now saw a number of people approaching. 
One tall, thin young man walked rapidly and kept glancing behind 
him; he was clearly a student, and as he passed, my friends whispered 
that he was editor of the Shanghai Pao, underground Communist paper 
which conducted a kind of journalistic guerrilla warfare in the city. 
Shortly after came one whose foreign suit was wrinkled and whose hair 
was wild and dishevelled. He had just come from months in prison. He 
had been suspected of representing the Chinese Red Aid ; the charge had 
been true, but money had proved stronger. His family had spent a 
fortune bribing his captors. 

The garden was filled and no more guests came, but my friends and I 
still stood guard. When darkness began to fall, half of the guests left. 
Others took our place as sentries and we went inside the restaurant with 
the other guests. 

After the dinner, speeches began and one of my friends translated for 
me. The Dutch restaurant-owner understood no Chinese, so he did not 
worry us, but the Chinese waiters stood listening intently. When the 
man with the wild hair made a report on prison conditions, we watched 
every mova of the servants. After him came the editor of the Shanghai 
Poo, giving the first factual report I had so far heard on the rise of the 
Red Army and on the "harvest uprisings" of peasants who had fought 
the landlords ancl then poured into the Red Army like rivulets into an 
ever-broadening river. 

A short, heavy-set young woman with bobbed hair began to tell of the 
need for, developing proletarian literature. She ended her address by 
appealing to Lu Hsiin to become the protector and "master" of the new 


League of Left Writers and League of Left Artists, the initial groups 
which later became the Chinese Cultural Federation. 

Throughout, Lu Hsiin listened carefully, promptly turning his atten- 
tion to new speakers, his forefinger all the while tracing the edge of his 
teacup. When all had finished, he rose and began to talk quietly, telling 
a story of the half-century of intellectual turmoil which had been his 
life the story of China uprooted. 

Born under the Manchu Dynasty into a poor scholarly village family, v 
he had grown up in a feudal setting into which the first modern ideas 
preceding the 1911 revolution had seeped very slowly. Too poor to 
study in Western countries, he had gone to Japan, then sympathetic to 
the Chinese nationalist movement. He had studied modern medicine, 
but also read the first Japanese translations of the works of Tolstoy. 
Tolstoy had introduced him to social thought and to the power of modern 

He had returned to China to practise modern medicine, but, like 
many medical men of the Occident, soon realized that most sickness and 
disease are rooted in poverty and in the ignorance that goes with poverty* 
Only the rich could afford medical treatment. Influenced by classical 
Russian writers, he turned to literature as a weapon to combat feudal 
thought, began to write short stories in the style of the Russian classics, 
and gradually abandoned medicine altogether. During the Chinese 
intellectual renaissance he had been a professor of literature in Peking, 
the birthplace of the new thought. 

In later years he had studied German and Russian and translated a 
number of Russian novels and essays. His purpose, he said, was to lay 
before Chinese youth the best of modern social literature. He had also 
begun to collect Western classical and modern paintings and specimens 
of the graphic arts, and had published a number of volumes for young 

He was now asked, he said, to lead a movement of proletarian litera- 
ture, and some of his young friends were urging him to become a pro- 
letarian writer. It would be childish to pretend that he was a proletarian 
writer. His roots were in the village, in peasant and scholarly life. Nor 
did he believe that Chinese intellectual youth, with no experience of 
the life, hopes, and sufferings of workers and peasants, could as yet 
produce proletarian literature. Creative writing must spring from 

experience, not theory. *~-^ 9 

Despite this, he would continue to place the best of Western literature 
and art before Chinese youth. He was willing to help and guide youth, 
or, as they, requested, to be their master. But protect them? Who could 
do that under a regime which called even the mildest social literature 
criminal? As "master", he urged educated youth to share the life of the 
workers and peasants, and draw their material from life, tut study 
Western social literature and art for form. 

As the mooting came to a close, one young man bent towards me and 
shook his head sadly : 

"Disappointing, wasn't it? I mean Lu Hsun's attitude towards pro* 
letarian literature. It discourages youth/' 

My lifelong hostility to professional intellectuals sprang to life. Chinese 
intellectuals had never done physical labour, and their writing- was a 
profession divorced from experience. To them even the word "youth" 
meant students only, and towards workers and peasants they maintained 
a superior though sympathetic attitude. Much of the "proletarian 
literature" which they had created up to that time had been artificial, a 
weak imitation of the Russian. 

To the young critic I replied that I agreed entirely with Lu Hsiin. 

My life became interlocked with that of Lu Hsiin and with his closest 
colleague, Mao Tun, one of the .better-known Chinese novelists. To- 
gether the three of us collected and published a volume of the etchings 
of Kaethe Kollwitz, the German folk-artist,^and together we wrote, for 
the Press of Occidental countries, most of the appeals against political 
reaction affecting Chinese intellectuals. Often Mao Tun and I would 
meet on some street corner and, after a careful scrutiny of the street on 
which Lu Hsun lived, enter his house and spend an evening with him. 
We would order dinner from a restaurant and spend hours in conversa- 
tion. None of us was a Communist, but we all considered it an honour 
to aid and support men who were fighting and dying for the liberation of 
the poor. 

Lu Hsiin occupied the ancient position of honour, that of "teacher" or 
"master" to the young intellectuals of China. There were many cliques 
among them, and each strove to win him to their side and their "line". 
He towered above them, refusing to be used by one or the other in their 
shifting alignments. He listened to all, discussed their problems, criticized 
their writing, encouraged them. And his name stood first in the* maga- 
zines they published. 

He often spoke to me of his plans for a historical novel based on his 
life, but the social reaction in which his country wallowed seemed to 
leave no time for this. So deep was his hatred of "the slaughter of the 
innocents" and the violation of men's rights that after a while he was 
using his pen only as a weapon a veritable dagger it was of political 

Of all Chinese writers, he seemed the most intricately linked with 
Chinese history, literature, and culture. It was almost impossible to 
translate iato English some of his "political criticisms" because, unable 
to attack reaction openly, his writings were a mosaic of allusions to 
personalities, events, and ideas of the darkest periods of China's past. 
Every ec$ucated Chinese knew that he was comparing present tyranny 
with that of the past. Through these political criticisms ran rich streams 
of both Chinese and Western culture, couched in a style as fine as an 


etching. He introduced literary magazine after literary magazine to the 
public, only to see each suppressed. These introductions, compact and 
chaste, were flown like proud banners. To him, freedom of thought and 
expression was the essence of human achievement. So distinctive wa his 
style that pseudonyms failed to shield him, and censors began to mutilate 
his articles until they often appeared senseless. Writers, editors, and 
artists associated with him began to disappear without trace; only his 
age and eminence protected him from arrest. For a number of years 
only the Left intellectuals of Japan were able to publish his unexpurgated 
writings. To Japanese intellectuals he was the best-known and most 
respected Chinese writer. 

The disappearance or death of his followers acted like corrosive poison 
on Lu Hsun's body and mind, and he began to sicken. He sometimes 
grew so ill that he could not rise. He felt that his heart was failing and 
agreed to receive the best foreign doctor in Shanghai. After the examina- 
tion the doctor took me aside and said that he was dying of tuberculosis 
and that only a prolonged rest in a cool, dry climate could halt the disease. 
The doctor added : "But of course he won't follow my advice. These 
old-fashioned, ignorant Chinese do not believe in modern medicine !" 

Ld Hsiin did not listen to the advice, but hardly because he was old- 
fashioned or ignorant. "You ask me to lie on my back for a year while 
others are fighting and dying?" he asked us accusingly. When we 
answered such objections, he reminded us of his poverty, but when we 
offered to collect the money needed, he still refused. Maxim Gorky 
invited him to the Soviet Union as his guest for, a year, but he woul<J not 
go. He said the Kuomintang would shriek to all China that he was 
receiving "Moscow gold". 

"They say that anyway !" I argued. 

"They dare not," he cried. "Everyone knows they lie! Anyway, 
China needs me. I cannot go." 

We pleaded with him in vain. "Everyone cannot run away !" he said. 
"Someone must stand and fight." / 

Late in 1930 I went to the Philippines for a few weeks of rest. The 
night before I sailed, Lu Hsiin and three young men writers called to 
spend the evening. One was a former teacher, Jou Shih, perhaps the 
most capable and beloved of Lu Hsun's pupils and friends. When I 
returned to Shanghai in March 1931 my secretary, Feng Da, met me 
with the news that twenty-four young writers, actors, and artists had 
been arrested and killed. On the night of February 21 they had been 
taken from prison, forced to dig their own graves, and shot. Some had 
been buried alive. One was Jou Shih. 

I hurried to Lu Hsun's home and found him in his study, with his face 
dark and unshaven, his hair dishevelled, cheeks sunken, and eyes gleam* 
ing with fever. His voice was filled with a terrible hatred. 

"Here is an article I wrote that night," he said, giving me a manu- 
script penned in his etching-like script. "I call it 'Written in Deep Night 1 . 
Have it translated into English and published abroad." 

After he had explained its purport, I warned him that he would be 
killed if it was published. 

"Does it matter?" he answered hotly. "Someone must speak !" 

Before I went away, he and I prepared a manifesto to the intellectuals 
of the Western world on the slaughter of the writers and artists. I 
carried it to Mao Tun, and he revised it and helped me translate it into 
English. As a result of it came the first foreign protest, from over fifty 
leading American writers, against the killing of Chinese writers. The 
Kuomintang was astounded to learn that the Western world disapproved ! 

Lu Hsiin's article, "Written in Deep Night", was never published even 
abroad, and I have it with me still. Of all that I had read in China, it 
made the deepest impression on me. It was a passionate cry, written in 
one of the blackest nights in Chinese history. It began : 

One may pass a heap of paper ashes on the wild earth, or many 
carvings on a ruined wall, and never see them. Yet each is eloquent 
with love, mourning, or with wrath stronger than the human voice 
can express. 

By the "heap of ashes on the wild earth" he referred to the Chinese 

funeral custom of burning paper for the souls of the dead. He then 

wrote of the woodcut Sacrifice, by Kaethe Kollwitz, which shows a gaunt 

mother holding out a dying baby an offering of the common people to 

death seeing in the babe a symbol of the twenty-four. His article 

continued : 


In China in the past a prisoner condemned to death was usually led 
through the busy thoroughfare, where he was permitted to shout Tuen 
Wang, to protest his innocence, abuse the judge, relate his own brave 
deeds, and show he had no fear of death. At the moment of execution 
bystanders would applaud, and the news of his courage would spread. 
In my youth I thought this practice barbarous and cruel. Now it 
seems to me that rulers of past ages were courageous and confident 
of their power when they permitted this. The practice even seemed to 
contain some kindness, some benevolence, to the condemned man. 

He then turned his daggers against the complacent Chu Tang, who, 
in an article in Tu Chou Fang, a magazine published by Dr. Lin Yu-tang, 
had had the temerity to observe that praise or sympathy for a condemned 
man might be a high ideal but was not good for society because it meant 
failure to recogpize the victor. Lu Hsiin answered Him with bitter irony 
and then, speaking of the cruelty of the murder, wrote : 

Today when I am told of the death of a friend or a student, and 
c (China) 6$ 

learn that no one knows the details of how he died, I find that I grieve 
more deeply than when I learn all details of the killing* I can imagine 
the awful loneliness that overtakes one who is killed by butchers in a 
small dark room. When I first read the "Inferno" of Dante's Divine 
Comedy^ I was amazed at its imagined cruelty. Now, with more 
experience, I see how moderate Dante's imagination was. It failed to 
reach the depth of the secret cruelty which is common today. 

At the end he appended a letter which might have been lifted from 
the Inferno. It came from an eighteen-year-old prisoner who, with two 
other students, had been dragged from a Shanghai college and accused 
of Communism because they belonged to a group founded by Lu Hsun 
for the study of woodcuts. The evidence against .them consisted of a 
woodcut of Lunacharsky. By a fantastic kind of reasoning, woodcuts 
were branded as Communistic. Fearing to arrest Lu Hsiin, the Govern- 
ment had arrested his pupils. 

The boy's letter from prison began with "Dear master" and related 
the tale of his Gethsemane from the day of his arrest until the night he 
had bribed a guard to deliver the letter to Lu Hsiin. It told in particular 
of the torture of a peasant who had been accused of being a Red Army 
commander; he had had nails driven under his finger-nails and had 
knelt in silence, his face like clay, with blood dripping from each finger. 

"My dear master, when I think of him, ice grips my heart," cried the 

As Mao Tun and I translated this, he paused and said in a low voice : 
"It is indeed written in deep night." 

"It is deep night," I said. 


UST AS I arrived in Canton in the hot summer months of 1930, 
another General was killed by his bodyguard for the sake of the fifty 
Chinese dollars offered by a rival General. Such events had begun to 
strike me as sardonic. The Kwang-tung Provincial Government was 
semi-independent, but in the hands of generals who took by violence 
what they considered their share in the loot of the south. They whirled 
around the city in bullet-proof cars with armed bodyguards standing on 
the running-boards. Such was the spirit of the generals and of the 
officials whom they brought to power with them. 

I interviewed them all and put no stock in whaft they said. They 
treated me magnificently, for foreign journalists seldom or never went 
south in the hot summer months. So I had a Government launch to 
myself, with an official guide to show me factories, paved roads, new 
water-works, and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. For truth I depended 

on Chinese university professors, an occasional newspaper reporter or . 
editor, teachers and writers, the German Consul in Canton and on my 
own eyes afcd ears. 

The real reason I went south in the hottest part of the year was to 
study the lot of the millions of "silk peasants 9 ' in a silk industry which was 
rapidly losing its American markets to Japanese magnates. But I did not 
wish to see the silk regions as a guest of the powerful Canton Silk Guild, 
for the Guild, after all, was like a big laughing Buddha, naked to the 
waist, his fat belly hanging over his pyjama belt. At last I found a group 
of Lingnan Christian University professors who were engaged in research 
in the industry. One young expert was leaving for the Shuntek silk 
region for a six weeks 5 inspection tour. I ^bnt with him to the Canton 
Silk Guild, where he argued with a suspicious Guild official until given 
permission to travel on Guild river steamers and enter the region in 
which millions of peasants toiled. There the millionaires of the South 
Seas had erected many large filatures; the spinners were all young 

Next day the young expert and I boarded a river steamer. Some 
twenty or thirty Guild merchants were the only other passengers. The 
steamers had armour plating and machine-guns to protect the merchants 
from "bandits". The "bandits", I learned, were peasants who took to 
the highway for a part of each year in order to earn a living. 

I once calculated that if these "bandits" had attacked and captured 
our steamer, they would have secured enough food to feed a whole 
village for months. At rrxeal-times the merchants hunched over the 
tables, eating gargantuan meals and dropping the chicken bones on the 
floor. They talked of silk, money, markets, and of how much their firms 
were losing. The silk industry was indeed fighting for its life, but if there 
were losses, they clearly did not come out of the hides of these men. I 
pined a little for Jesse James. 

My young escort was awed by these men, but when he spoke of the 
silk peasants or the girl filature workers, hostility and contempt crept 
into his voice. His particular hatred seemed to be the thousands of 
women spinners, and only with difficulty could I learn why. He told 
me that the women were notorious throughout China as Lesbians. They 
refused to marry, and if their families forced them, they merely bribed 
their husbands with a part of their wages and induced them to take con- 
cubines. The most such a married girl would do was bear one son ; then 
she would return to the factory, refusing to live with her husband any 
longer. The Government had just issued a decree forbidding women to 
esqape from marfiage by bribery, but the women ignored it. 

"They're too rich that's the root of the trouble !" my young escort 
explained. "They earn as much as eleven dollars a month, and become 
proud and contemptuous." He added that on this money they also 
supported parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents. "They 


squander their money!" he cried. "I have never gone to a picture 
theatre without seeing groups of them sitting together, holding hands.' 5 
Until 1927, when they were forbidden, there had been Communist 
cells and trade unions in the filatures, he charged, and now these de- 
spicable girls evaded the law by forming secret "Sister Societies". They 
had even dared strike for shorter hours and higher wages. Now and then 
two or three girls would commit suicide together because their families 
were forcing them to marry. 

For weeks my escort and I went by foot or small boat from village to 
village, from market town to market town. The fierce sun beat down 
upon us until our clothing clung to our bodies like a surgeon's glove and 
the perspiration wilted our hat-bands and our shoes. At night we took 
rooms in village inns or pitched our camp beds under mosquito nets in 
family temples. All the roads and paths were lined with half-naked 
peasants bending low under huge baskets of cocoons swung from the 
ends of bamboo poles. Market towns reeked with the cocoons and hanks 
of raw silk piled up to the rafters in the warehouses. Every village was 
.a mass of trays on which the silkworms fed, tended night and day by 
gaunt careworn peasants who went about naked to the waist. 

At first curiously, then with interest, my escort began to translate for 
me as I questioned the peasants on their life and work. Their homes 
were bare huts with earthen floors, and the bed was a board covered by 
an old mat and surrounded by a cotton cloth, once white, which served 
as a mosquito net. There was usually a small clay stove with a cooking 
utensil or two, a narrow bench, and sometimes an ancient, scarred table. 
For millions this was home. A few owned mulberry trees for wealth 
was reckoned in trees. But almost all had sold their cocoon crops in 
advance in order to get money or food. If the crop failed, they were the 
losers. Wherever we travelled the story was the same : the silk peasants 
were held in pawn by the merchants and were never free from debt. 

Only as we neared big market towns, in which silk filatures belched 
forth the stench of cocoons, did we come upon better homes and fewer 
careworn faces. The daughters of such families were spinners. It was 
then that I began to see what industrialism, bad as it had seemed else- 
where, meant to the working girls. These were the only places in the 
whole country where the birth of a baby girl was an occasion for joy, 
for here girls were the main support of their families. Consciousness of 
their worth was reflected in their dignified independent bearing. I began 
to understand the charges that they were Lesbians. They could not but 
compare the dignity of their positions with the low position of married 
women. Their independence seemed a personal affront to officialdom. 

The hatred of my escort for these girls became more marked when we 
visited the filatures. Long lines of them, clad in glossy black jackets 
and trousers, sat before boiling vats of cocoons, their parboiled fingers 

twinkling among the spinning filaments. Sometimes a remark passed 
along their lines set a whole mill laughing. The face of my escort would 
grow vivid. 

"They call me a running dog of the capitalists, and you a foreign devil 
of an imperialist ! They are laughing at your clothing and your hair and 
eyes !" he explained. 

One evening the two of us sat at the entrance of an old family temple 
in the empty stone halls of which we had pitched our netted camp cots. 
On the other side of the canal rose the high walls of a filature, which 
soon began pouring forth black-clad girl workers, each with her tin 
dinner-pail. All wore wooden sandals which were fastened by a single 
leather strap across the toes and which clattered as they walked. Their 
glossy black hair was combed back and hung in a heavy braid to the 
waist. At the nape of the neck the braid was caught in red yarn, making 
a band two or three inches wide a lovely splash of colour. 

As they streamed in long lines over the bridge arching the canal and 
past the temple entrance, I felt I had never seen more handsome women. 

I urged my young escort to interpret for me, but he refused, saying he 
did not understand their dialect. He was so irritated that he rose and 
walked towards the town. When he was gone, I went down the steps. A 
group of girls gathered about me and stared. I offered them some of 
my malt candy. There was a flash of white teeth and exclamations in 
a sharp staccato dialect. They took the candy, began chewing, then 
examined my clothing and stared at my hair and eyes. I did the same 
with them and soon we were laughing at each other. 

Two of them linked their arms in mine and began pulling me down 
the flagstone street. Others followed, chattering happily. We entered 
the home of one girl and were welcomed by her father and mother and 
two big-eyed little brothers. Behind them the small room was already 
filled with other girls and curious neighbours. A candle burned in the 
centre of a square table surrounded by crowded benches. I was seated 
in the place of honour and served the conventional cup of tea. 

Then a strange conversation began. Even had I known the most 
perfect Mandarin, I could not have understood these girls, for their 
speech was different from that spoken in any other part of the country. 
I had studied Chinese spasmodically in Manchuria, in Peiping, in 
Shanghai but each time, before I had more than fyegun, I had had to 
move on to new fields, and all that I had previously learned became 
almost useless. Shanghai had its own dialect, and what I had learned 
there aroused laughter in Peiping and was utterly useless in the south. 
Only missionaries* and consular officials could afford to spend a year in 
the Peking Language School. Journalists had to be here, there, and 

I therefore talked with the filature girls in signs and gestures. Did I 
have any children, they asked, pointing to the children. No? Not 


married cither? They seemed interested and surprised. In explanation I 
undamped my fountain pen, took a notebook from my pocket, tried to 
make a show of thinking, looked them over critically, and began to 
write. There was great excitement. 

A man standing near the door asked me something in Mandarin and 
I was able to understand him. I was an American, a reporter, he told the 
crowded room. Yes, I was an intellectual but was pnce a worker. When 
he interpreted this, they seemed to find it very hard to believe. 

Girls crowded the benches and others stood banked behind them. 
Using my few words of Mandarin and many gestures, I learned that some 
of them earned eight or nine dollars a month, a few eleven. They worked 
ten hours a day not eight, as my escort had said. Once they had worked 

My language broke down, so I supplemented it with crude pictures in 
my notebook. How did they win the ten-hour day? I drew a sketch of 
a filature with a big fat man standing on top laughing, then a second 
picture of the same with the fat man weeping because a row of girls stood 
holding hands all around the mill. They chattered over these drawings, 
then a girl shouted two words and all of them began to demonstrate a 
strike. They crossed their arms, as though refusing to work, while some 
rested their elbows on the table and lowered their heads, as though refus- 
ing to move. They laughed, began to link hands, and drew me into this 
, circle. We all stood holding hands in an unbroken line, laughing. Yes, 
that was how they got the ten-hour day ! 

As we stood there, one girl suddenly began lo sing in a high sweet 
voice. Just as suddenly she halted. The whole room chanted an answer. 
Again and again she sang a question and they replied, while I stood, 
excited, made desperate by the fact that I could not understand. 

The strange song ended and they began to. demand something of me. 
They wanted a song! The Marseillaise came to mind, and I sang it. 
They shouted for more and I tried the Internationale 9 watching carefully 
for any reaction. They did not recognize it at all. So, I thought, it isn't 
true that these girls had Communist cells ! 

A slight commotion spread through the room, and I saw that a man 
stood in the doorway holding a flute in his hand. He put it to his lips and 
it began to murmur softly. Then the sound soared and the high sweet 
voice of the girl singer followed. She paused. The flute soared higher 
and a man's voice joined it. He was telling some tale, and when he 
paused, the girl's voice answered. It was surely some ballad, some 
ancient song of the people, for it had in it the universal quality of folk- 

In this way I spent an evening with people whose tongue I could not 
speak, and when I returned to my temple, many went with me, one 
lighting our way with a swinging lantern: I passed through the silent 
stone courtyards to my room and my bed. And throughout the night the 

village watchman beat his brass gong, crying the hours. His gong 
sounded first from a distance, passed the temple wall, and receded again, 
saying to the world that all was well. 

I lay thinking of ancient things ... of the common humanity, the 
goodness and unity of the common people of all lands. 


C-/NE LATE SPRING afternoon in 1931 I opened the Shanghai Evening 
Post and Mercury, an American daily, and found a double-columned 
centre-of-the-page attack against me by a Mr. Woodhead, president of 
the British Residents' Association and one of the most reactionary 
British writers in the Far East. 

The article was interesting, not because it concerned me, but because 
it was a perfect example of the "Shanghai mind". Even in a city and 
country where ruthless reaction rode roughshod over every man or 
woman who even mentioned such insidious ideas as the rights of man, 
it was a masterpiece of gutter journalism, attacking both my political 
and my personal life. 

I might have ignored it had not my position already been made 
difficult by inquiries and attacks from official sources. A few months 
earlier I had been arrested by the Chinese police of Canton, acting upon 
a secret official document sent them by the British police of Shanghai ; 
the document had charged that I was a Russian Bolshevik travelling on 
a false American ^passport. The police addressed me in Russian, which 
I did not understand, and then pocketed my passport. When the German 
Consul General intervened, the Chief of Police showed him the document 
from Shanghai. The American Consul General also saw it, but equivo- 
cated when I asked about it. While waiting for a reply from Washington 
concerning my citizenship, my Consul General asked me to give him 
the names of every Chinese I knew. When I replied that this was 
journalistically unethical and that I also considered it unethical for a 
consular official to act as an agent of the police, he was infuriated. 

For weeks I lived under house arrest, with armed gendarmes wander- 
ing in and out of my apartment at will. If I went out, they followed, 
with murmuring crowds trailing behind me, apparently anticipating a 
Roman holiday. By the time Washington had verified my citizenship, I 
had fallen ill. My Irish sea-captain friend rescued me and took me back 
to Shanghai. I had to spend three months resting in the Philippines 
before I was in fighting trim again. 

This Canton incident was really the setting of Woodhead's attack on 
me. In a succeeding article he brought up the case of a Chinese family 
of twelve which, he alleged, had been murdered by Communists and 
buried in a courtyard. The killing was said to have been an act of 


revenge against the head of the family, a leading Communist who had 
gone over to the Blue Shirts and betrayed dozens of his comrades. 

The story had no meaning for me. Murder was an order of the day in 
China. Anyone could get an enemy killed by paying a sum to thugs. 
Tu Yueh-seng, leader of the Green Gang of Shanghai had accumulated 
a fortune from such work not to mention the 'opium traffic and the 
"protection tribute" paid by every Chinese business house. Mr. Tu was 
the opium king of Shanghai and was referred to as the Czar of the French 
Concession. He and two other great gang leaders allied with him were 
called the "Big Three". The Green Gang often kidnapped recalcitrant 
wealthy Chinese and held them for ransom, and the chief Chinese 
detective of the International Settlement, who was connected with the 
gang, had grown very rich. At one time the gang poisoned a number of 
French officials at a banquet; when some of them died, the Press called 
it "smallpox". 

Nor could I be impressed by the attack upon my personal life. For 
years a British official lived with the mistress of an upper-class brothel 
to which only white men able to pay "fifty dollars a shot" were 
admitted. This brothel mistress once had her picture taken with the 
Britisher. Incidentally, one such brothel mistress had a daughter 
studying in an exclusive finishing school in California. 

I also recalled that when Mrs. Margaret Sanger once visited Shanghai, 
her crown of auburn hair had caused an elegantly dressed woman to 
approach her in a tea-room and ask her if she wished to earn a handsome 
sum of money, a fur coat, and other fine clothes. Margaret pretended 
interest. The elegant woman explained that the British fleet was coming 
in and Margaret was just the type for the Admiral. 

Great as my sins might have been, I was not a member of the Green 
Gang or of the Shanghai police force, or at the disposal of the fleet. I 
refused to answer personal questions from any but my peers, and 
used my political reply to Woodhead's attack to expound unpopular 
views. Another vitriolic attack on me forced an American Marine 
officer to protest to the editors, and the paper declared the controversy 

A few days after this attack Feng Da, my secretary, came with a 
mysterious warning to the effect that a Baltic German by the name of 
Karl Strauss, connected with the French and British police and the White 
Russians, was going to call on me. Strauss was referring to himself as 
the appointed representative of the International Red Aid, a Com- 
munist labour defence organization with headquarters in Berlin. He was 
said to be carrying two letters from Willi Muenzenberg, head of the Red 
Aid. I was not even a member, not to mention a functionary, of the Red 
Aid, and I doubted the story of the letters. Karl Strauss was known to 
many people as an international spy, and such methods as these sounded 
too naive. 

Yet Strauss actually called a few days later. He was a short, thin man 
in his middle thirties; he had sandy hair and blue-grey eyes as hard as 
those of a snake. He presented letters which purported to put him in 
charge of the collection of Red Aid money, ostensibly for flood relief 
which was childish. I said at once that I had nothing to do with the Red 
Aid or with Muenzenberg. Strauss replied : 

"I want you to introduce me to your intellectual friends. I hear you 
know many who can help our movement." 

Back of Strauss stood my leather walking-stick, leaded at one end a 
weapon I now carried in self-protection. I went towards it. He turned 
and saw it, and without a word whirled and fled. I raced after him, 
shouting wildly. 

He disappeared in a small cloud of flying leaves and dust. 

That night I noticed that the big street light before my house was dark, 
and that a man, clearly a foreigner, stood behind it. I also saw that a 
new "art shop" had been opened in a building directly adjoining my 
motor driveway. White Russian men idled behind a few piles of paper, 
paint, and brushes. Then I saw two Chinese pass my house repeatedly. 
Experience enabled me to recognize these as members of the Green 
Gang. Notwithstanding the popular notion that "all Chinese and babies 
look alike", Chinese types are of course as distinct as those in any national 
group. And the Chinese thug is a very distinct type. 

Then one morning my servant ran in from the kitchen, crying: 
"Missy ! One piece Chinese policeman in kitchen. He want your letters. 
He say he take us to jail !" 

I stalked into the kitchen, which was jointly used by three families, 
and found all the Chinese servants standing about. A Chinese in foreign 
clothing stopped talking as I entered. I ordered him out. His hard, cold 
face did not change expression, but he turned and went out. My servant 
gave notice and left at once. For two weeks two men friends took 
turns sleeping in my apartment, and I never went out without one 
or both as escort. The gangsters padded after us, never looking in our 

When it became plain that the gangsters and the White Russians were 
there to stay, I went to the American Court and told the special district 
attorney, Dr. George Sellett, the story. He rocked with laughter about 
Karl Strauss. He informed me that the Shanghai police had made three 
futile attempts to have me arrested. Since I lived in the French Con- 
cession, he advised me to write a letter to the French Consul General 
about the gangsters and the detectives. 

I wrote a stinging letter. The next morning a lovely creature in white, 
with a blond waxed moustache and a dainty walking-stick, called on me. 
In a high, singing voice he introduced himself as representing the Political 
Department of the French police. This fairy-like creature draped himself 
across a chair and sang out : 

C2 73 

"Madame, 1 have called to tell you that the men you call spies and 
gangsters are unknown to us ! I have come to offer you a good French 
detective to accompany you wherever you go. We desire only your 
comfort and safety." 

"I need none of your detectives to protect me from your spies and 
thugs !" I exploded. "Please turn on the street light in front of my house 
and call off your dogs. If you don't I'll create an international scandal 
that will make the French Concession stink even more than it already 

"Madame ! ! These are not our men. Nor does the French Concession 

"Monsieur ! ! Those are your men, and the French Concession smells 
to high heaven of gangsters and opium and prostitution and White 
Russian thugs and whores !" 

The fantastic creature rose on its hind legs, bowed, and cried : "Adieu ! 
Madame, adieu!" 

He walked off swaying elegantly, one hand on his hip. 

To my amazement, the street light was turned on that night and the 
"art shop" folded up and vanished. The gangsters never reappeared. 
Once more I realized that as an American I had some protection. But 
the Chinese still had none. 

Some time after this the Japanese Nichi-Nichi of Shanghai published 
an article about me. It was a truly amazing piece. According to it, I had 
been born in Michigan and educated at Ann Arbor. I spoke many 
languages perfectly, including Japanese, Chinese, and Russian. I was a 
member of the G.P.U. and made a specialty of sleeping with military 
men to worm their secrets out of them. This was easy, it declared, for I 
was young and beautiful and was a singer and dancer ! I had been in 
Singapore spying on the British, in Java spying on the Dutch, in the 
Philippines spying on the Americans, and now I was in Shanghai spying 
on everyone ! 

Within a few days the China Tribune, Wang Ching-wei's English pro- 
paganda organ, published an article declaring that I had been a liar 
since childhood ! As proof they quoted from my autobiography a story 
of how, when I was five years old, my mother whipped me because I told 
her that the wind carried stories on its back and that the red bird in our 
cherry tree also told me tales. 

Before the ink on these stories was dry, a little German spy, Bernhard, 
apparently found himself in need of money; so he sat himself down and 
manufactured a "diary" of an alleged trip he had made into the Soviet 
regions of Kiangsi Province to attend a Soviet Congress. A foreign 
newspaper in Tientsin began to publish it. One diary entry "revealed" 
that I had gone to the Soviet Congress "with a group of Chinese students", 
taken a case of whisky with me, lived with students in the Soviet capital, 
and caroused drunkenly every night. When the Congress opened, it 

blithely continued, I had appeared stark naked on the platform, wearing 
only a red cap, and had sung the Internationale. 

Such things as this may sound incredible to people living in an ordered 
society ; they were commonplace in China. The "constituted authorities", 
both Chinese and foreign, accepted them. Some Chinese newspapers 
supported themselves by keeping a record of the secret lives of high 
officials, then threatening to publish the facts unless the victims paid up. 
As a rule they paid. 

Chinese law read well on paper, but it was worth no more than its 
weight in bribes. For a penniless Chinese there was no justice at all, and 
Shanghai was filled with Chinese who sought protection under foreign 
law although this, too, protected only a few. For a considerable period 
it protected the freedom of the Press, but after the Blue Shirts established 
a censorship bureau in the International Settlement, even that protection 

Many upper-class intellectual Chinese campaigned ceaselessly for a 
"reign of law" within China. Among these were Dr. Lin Yu-tang and 
Dr. Hu Shih. Though Dr. Hu and I were often in disagreement, I have 
always recognized that he was one of the first Chinese leaders to urge the 
introduction into China of the Rights of Man. 




JAPAN'S FIRST STEP in the conquest of eastern Asia began in Mukden, 
Manchuria, on the night of September 18, 1931, when, without a 
declaration of war, Japanese troops blew up a stretch of railway and 
accused the Chinese of the crime. Before the night was finished, Mukden 
had been captured and Japanese troops had begun pouring into Man- 
churia from dozens of points. Henry Pu Yi, last degenerate scion of the 
Manchu dynasty, which had ruled China from the downfall of the Mings 
to the foundation of the Republic in 191 1, was kidnapped in Tientsin and 
spirited away to Manchuria, placed on a shabby throne, given a Japan- 
ese woman as wife, and told that he was Emperor of the new Empire 
of "Manchukuo". Ready-made Chinese traitors the older and more 
unprincipled, the better were placed in his Cabinet and Japanese 
"advisers" told them just when to talk and just when to keep their 
mouths shut. One of the few younger men who acquiesced was General 
Ma Chan-shan, and he was made Minister of War. 

The Young Marshal, Chang Hsueh-liang, was at a theatre in Peiping 
when he was notified of the incident ; he did not leave. The Minister of 
Foreign Affairs was playing billiards and cultivating friendly relations 
with foreigners in the Nanking International Club. He was a pleasant, 
foolish man who had been put in his position, like many other officials, 
because of his ability to say yes. A million soldiers of the Central Govern- 
ment were busily engaged in trying to exterminate the Red Army in 
south China. A little thing like the occupation of China's three north- 
eastern provinces was too unimportant for even one of them to be with- 
drawn for the defence of the nation. The League of Nations would put 
Japan in its place, said the Central Government. People need not get 
excited and start shouting for war. China was unprepared for war, said 
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and continued to make war on the Red 
Army. Soon the Chinese representative was weeping before the League 
of. Nations in Geneva while the Japanese representative watched him 
contemptuously, a big black cigar stuck in his face. 

. The Chinese Red Army and the Communist Party, which commanded 
it, appealed to the nation for the end of civil war and the formation of a 
united front to meet the danger of foreign invasion. Soon afterwards 
it issued a declaration of war against Japan. Its statements were 
suppressed, but managed to spread throughout the country, and the 

Japanese issued warnings to the Central Government that if the Red 
Army was not exterminated the Japanese would themselves do that job. 
Other foreigners in China agreed with those Chinese officials who 
declared that "the Japanese are only a skin disease, but the Communists 
are a disease of the heart' '. The Japanese, the foreigners said, would 
always respect private property, whereas the Communists threatened it. 
Furthermore, Japan needed room for its surplus population ; given Man- 
churia, its demands for "living-space'* would be satisfied. This had the 
further advantage of securing China against the infiltration of Communist 
ideas from the Soviet Union. Manchuria under the Japanese would be a 
bulwark against the Soviets. 

When the League of Nations sent the Lytton Commission to China to 
"investigate" the Manchurian incident, the Americans and British could 
not agree on any policy and the Commission spent as much time studying 
British and American investments in China, and the "Red menace", as 
they spent in Manchuria. I never understood why such a commission 
was sent. Its presence seemed to indicate that news dispatches reporting 
the Japanese invasion were just Chinese fabrications. Japan's blue-print 
of world conquest, the Tanaka Memorial, which the Chinese had exposed, 
was branded by many foreigners as a Chinese fabrication, despite the 
fact that, the occupation of Manchuria and then that of Mongolia were 
listed by that document as the first steps towards the occupation of all 
east Asia, the ousting of America from the Pacific, and finally world 
domination. The plan seemed fantastic. The white nations had ruled 
the world so long that they could noj even imagine their power being 
challenged. Furthermore, the Japanese were men of colour ; they were 
runts. Much of what the people of America knew of them came from the 
romantic writings of Lafcadio Hearn or from The Mikado. Typical is 
Madame Butterfly, in which a Japanese woman is abandoned by her white 
lover and kills herself. It was sad but natural ! 

The Chinese people were not so foolish. They recognized the menace, 
and a boycott of everything Japanese spread through the country. The 
upsurge of hatred turned upon the policy of the Government, which tried 
to suppress every anti-Japanese organization while at the same time 
directing the wrath of the people against Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang, 
who was held responsible for the loss of Manchuria. The Young Marshal 
had received orders from the Central Government not to fight ; in addition, 
he had declared his faith in the League of Nations. Fierce satires and 
cartoons were published about him ; one declared 
with the Japanese that he had shaved offhis moust^ 
up this desperate action by retiring to a moi 
taking an ice-cream freezer with him, prepare 

But up in Manchuria the bulk of the army 
liang disobeyed Government orders and fougj 

slowly driven southwards through the Great Wall into China proper. 
General Ma Chan-shan, whom the Japanese had made Minister of War 
of their puppet "Manchukuo", used the period of his supposed treason 
to mobilize the troops of northern Manchuria. He then took the field as 
their leader, and in the famous Battle of Nonni River lit a flame that 
swept all China. Because he received no support from the Central 
Government, he was soon driven across the border into the Soviet Union, 
but while he fought, the Chinese people regained their pride. The streets 
of Shanghai swarmed with students collecting money for him, and the 
names of Manchurian Army officers began to be honoured by every 
Chinese, though their names could not be mentioned in the Press. The 
Manchurian Volunteers and the Korean nationalists had also taken the 
'field, and their number was increasing. 

During a brief period a group of southern politicians, including Wang 
Ching-wei, used the Manchurian crisis to gain powerful posts in the 
Central Government. Like that of all Chinese politicians, their power was 
judged by the number of armed men they controlled. These southern 
politicians controlled in part the famous igth Route Army, and it was 
soon withdrawn from the Kiangsi front, where it had been fighting the 
Red Army, to take up positions around Shanghai. 

The igth Route Army was a southern army known for its national 
consciousness and courage. While fighting the Red Army, it had learned 
not only the methods of guerrilla warfare, but much of that Army's 
social consciousness and anti-imperialist convictions. When the Japanese 
around Shanghai began to provoke their usual series of " incidents", 
they were arrested or shot down by the igth Route Army, and war flared 
up again, this time around Shanghai. And again there was no declara- 
tion of war. I heard from officers of the igth Route Army that Generalis- 
simo Chiang Kai-shek telephoned General Tsai Ting-kai, field com- 
mander of their Army, not to fight the Japanese, but General Tsai re- 
fused to obey him. When some of the best Chinese divisions, trained by 
German military advisers, were dispatched to Shanghai, it was said that 
they had orders to disarm the igth Route Army; instead they joined it. 
Once involved, the Government had no alternative but to support the 
struggle. Later those Nanking divisions, and not the igth Route Army, 
were given credit for the defence of Shanghai, which was carried on with 
unparalleled heroism for three months. 

In that campaign the patriotism of the people was established beyond 
doubt. Homes and schools were turned into hospitals; doctors, nurses, 
and students volunteered ; and workers joined to fight or carry stretchers. 
Seven hundred workers took part with soldiers in the defence of the 
Woosung forts and held out for weeks against a combined land, sea, and 
#ir attack by the Japanese. They retreated only when outflanked, sur- 
rounded, and reduced to a few survivors. 

This war gave me my first opportunity to learn at first hand some* 

thing about Chinese soldiers, whom most foreigners regarded as mer- 
cenaries incapable of serious warfare. With a Cantonese interpreter I 
went through the hospitals and sat for hours talking with wounded 
soldiers about their lives and attitudes. Many of them were little more 
than boys, but most were seasoned fighters. Save for their speech, they 
might have been American farmers. Like the common people of China, 
they knew little of dissimulation and spoke their thoughts freely. They 
hated the Japanese, were anti-imperialist, and saw no sense to civil war. 
Though it was a crime to defend the Red Army, they spoke quite openly 
of the reforms which Communists had introduced among the peasant 
population of Kiangsi Province. They criticized their own officers and 
politicians, charging them with pocketing the wages of the soldiers. For 
the igth Route Army had not been paid in four months. Right in the 
middle of the Shanghai fighting, Wounded Soldier Committees from the 
hospitals had demanded their back pay. Many of them had been arrested 
and taken from the hospitals to prison. The Chinese people and soldiers 
were poor, they said, but not the generals and politicians. 

That China was poor no man would deny, but that both Chinese and 
foreign business men were making huge profits on arms and ammunition 
was just as undeniable. Chinese officials in charge of war supplies would 
not sign contracts with foreign firms until they had been paid high com- 
missions. It was the foreign business men who exposed this, and such 
practices were eventually exposed in the American Congress. The names 
of the Chinese responsible for them were totally missing in the Chinese 

I got a few sidelights on such matters from my many Chinese friends, 
One afternoon a Chinese woman friend called on me on her way to a tea 
party given by Mrs. Quo Tai-chi, wife of one of the highest Chinese 
officials. My friend was soliciting donations and recruiting volunteers for 
a hospital managed by Madame Sun Yat-sen which cared for a thousand 
wounded soldiers. I signed her list and gave a small donation. When she 
returned from the tea-party she told me what she had seen. The guests 
were all wives and daughters of high officials and Army officers. One of 
these ladies appeared in a beautiful new gown, richly embroidered, 
wearing a new ring which the owner deprecated as paltry because it cost 
only seven hundred dollars. The women gambled at mah-jongg, losing 
or winning hundreds of dollars at each table. In the midst of their games 
my friend presented her appeal for donations. When the women saw 
that the first name on the list was my own and that I had given twenty 
dollars, they each gave twenty dollars, no more, no less. When my friend 
appealed for vojunteers to work in the hospital, the women reminded 
her that they and their daughters were ladies^ who could not be subjected 
to die rough talk of soldiers. 

Not one volunteer came forth, but a few days later some of the ladies 
had their photographs taken as they went through the hospital dis- 


tributing small bags of oranges and cigarettes. The soldiers had shouted 
at them : 

"Go rape yourselves with your oranges ! Pay us our back wages and 
we will buy our own oranges." 

After three months of heroic fighting, which left the Chapei section of 
Shanghai in total ruin, Chinese and Japanese officials gathered in the 
British Consulate and signed an agreement. No one knew exactly what 
the secret clauses were, but that they existed every man suspected. In 
any case, Shanghai and the surrounding region were demilitarized and 
the Chinese agreed to suppress the anti-Japanese movement and to 
remove the igth Route Army. Even the Chinese police force, which had 
turned its guns against the Japanese, was disbanded, and a special police 
force from Peiping, known to be more feudal and therefore more accept- 
able to the Japanese, was brought to Shanghai. 

During the Shanghai war, foreigners prevailed upon the Japanese and 
China to call a truce for one day to permit the evacuation from Chapei of 
Chinese civilians those who had survived the Japanese sword. Foreig- 
ners with special Japanese military passes were permitted to go into the 
battle zone to bring out people. I could not get a military pass, but the 
editor of the Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury, an American daily, agreed 
to take me if I cared to risk arrest. I decided to take the chance in an 
effort to find my friend the writer Lu Hsiin. With a Press sign on his 
car, and waving his military pass out of the window with one hand, my 
courageous editor friend swept at breakneck speed towards the Japanese 
barricades. While I sat breathless, we sped along the deserted road 
flanked by Japanese troops and were gone before they could lift a hand 
to inspect our passes. We reached the home of my friend and found it 
partially destroyed. I hammered on the doors and shouted in English 
and German, but no one answered. Marooned in their homes, many 
Chinese refused to respond to anyone, and some of them died of -hunger 
rather than open their doors. 

Failing in our mission, we again sped through the Japanese lines back 
into the International Settlement. Only when the war was over did I 
learn that Lu Hsiin and his family had been rescued and hidden by 
Japanese friends. 

" During the fighting a number of my friends were murdered by the 
Japanese. I knew a returned student from America whose brother hid 
in a clothes-basket when Japanese soldiers entered their home. After 
they had departed, my friend entered his brother's room, but the youth 
was gone and the room was splattered with blood. I asked two friendly 
Japanese newspaper men to find the brother. They wer\t through all the 
concentration camps in which the Japanese Army held Chinese civilians. 

Late one night since no Japanese dared venture into the International 
Settlement by day the newspaper men came to me. I had had one of 
my periodic heart attacks and \vas lying ill. One of my most unforgettable 

memories is of these two Japanese, collars turned up, hats pulled low 
over their eyes, clothes dirty and dishevelled, and eyes bloodshot from 
d&ys and nights of looking on horror, squatting by my bedside in total 
silence. When I asked the unnecessary question about my friend, one of 
them shook his head, but neither spoke. They must have sat in silence 
for half an hour. When they rose to go, one of them staggered from 
weariness. I proposed that they go into my living-room and sleep for a 
few hours on the couch. Without a word and without removing their 
overcoats, they dropped on the couch and were asleep almost before 
their heads touched it. I spent a sleepless night, and at four in the morn- 
ing awakened them. Before they left one of them said : 

"It was horrible, horrible. But try to trust us. We will do all we 

They went out, and I never saw them again. 

After the Shanghai truce was signed, the igth Route Army asked to be 
transferred to north China, where the Japanese were preparing to invade 
the Province of Jehol. Instead, it was transferred to Fukien Province to 
the south, under orders to continue the war on the Red Army. Within a 
few months revolt flared within its ranks and for a few weeks its officers 
maintained a semi-independent Government which made a "non- 
aggression pact" with the Chinese Red Army. The Government moved 
soldiers against it, and when they began bombing Fukien cities, it sur- 
rendered. Some of its troops went over to the Red Army, and the rest 
were split up and scattered. Years later, in north-western China, I met 
some of its officers, who had by then become staff officers of the Red 
Army. They had made the epic Long March with that Army. 

The Chinese people writhed under the humiliation of defeat and 
impotence. Students who had demonstrated against the Japanese and 
demanded war were beaten in the streets and imprisoned. A igth Route 
Army officer tried to kill Wang Ching-wei and other officials in Nanking ; 
Wang Ching-wei went to Germany to recover and, after Hitler came to 
power, joined the Axis forces. 

When, later, Italy copied Japanese technique and occupied Abyssinia, 
the resistance of the Abyssinians lit new fires of patriotism in the Chinese 
people. If little Abyssinia could fight a powerful invader so courageously, 
so could China, argued all Chinese patriots. 

During the Abyssinian campaign I made another trip to north China 
and saw the confusion and despair that gripped the people. Students 
became hysterical and screamed as they talked, accusing their Govern- 
ment of selling out to the Japanese. Each week-end men and women 
students gathered^ by the hundreds in the Western Hills on what they 
called "picnics". I heard anti-Chinese foreigners accuse them of sexual 
debauchery. What they were really doing was practising mountain- 
climbing and guerrilla warfare. Sticks were their weapons, and stones 
were their hand-grenades. 


When I told officials that I could not understand why China could not 
fight as well as Abyssinia, one of them replied : "Oh, the Abyssinians are 
savages. If you step on a savage he will always fight. But we Chinete 
have an old culture and we love peace." 

On the train from Peiping to Tientsin I witnessed the bitter fruits of 
appeasement, another aspect of the fearful distortion of the Chinese 
Revolution. The Chinese Government forbade anyone to ship silver 
money out of the country, but the Japanese sent armed men into north 
China to buy Chinese silver dollars with worthless paper currency and 
transport it to Mukden. Our train halted to allow hordes of these 
Japanese and Koreans to lug in heavy suitcases and sacks of silver dollars. 
They swarmed into every compartment, and a gang of fifteen or twenty 
shoved me out of my seat. As I stood in the corridor, I watched a 
Chinese conductor come through the car, slide back the doors of each 
compartment, bow politely, and ask the gangsters whether they were 
comfortable. He dared not ask them for their tickets, for Japanese would 
not lower themselves by paying on Chinese trains. 

When I told this story to a foreign friend who was very pro-Chinese, he 
answered : 

"How can we expect individual Chinese to be braver than their 
Government? The conductor would have been killed had he tried to 
collect fares." 

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was said to be anti-Japanese and pre- 
paring for war. I could see no signs of such preparation. What I could 
see was China's man-power, war materials, and national wealth being 
depleted in fratricidal fighting. 

Friends in Germany had written me that the I.G. Farbenindustrie had 
bought up most of the shares in the Frankfurter %eitung 9 the paper for which 
I was correspondent. I knew what to expect from my new employers, 
because on three separate occasions the Chinese Government had re- 
quested the German Government to have me discharged. This paper, 
the oldest and most eminent liberal daily on the European continent, had 
weathered many reactionary movements in Germany, but the Nazi tide 
threatened not only its freedom of Press but the lives of its owners. For, 
in addition to the "crime" of being erudite and liberal democrats, the 
publishers were Jewish. After mutual expressions of regret they gave me 
six months* notice, paid my salary for that period, and allowed our con- 
tract to lapse. A German, later one of Hitler's chief propagandists, was 
mentioned as my successor. 


OOMETIMES LEADING CHINESE intellectuals and I talked about the 
desperate necessity of introducing into China at least the fundamental 
liberties. Much we could not expect to achieve, but if we could gain 
some freedom of speech and Press or a public trial for political prisoners,, 
or if we could halt the torture and secret slaughter of men or improve 
prison conditions, the gain would be precious. 

Every leading Chinese scholar worthy of the name dwelt on these 
needs. One of the most impressive papers on this theme was written by 
Dr. Hu Shih, professor in Peking National University, and published in 
1930 in a Shanghai literary magazine, the Crescent Moon, organ of a group 
of literary patricians. It presented sober and reasoned arguments for a 
"government of law' * which would respect the rights of man. 

Another liberal scholar, more volatile and critical, was Dr. Lin Yu- 
tang of Shanghai. He lectured and wrote on behalf of a system of law 
designed to take the place of the prevailing crass lawlessness. Unable, 
without endangering his life, to come out in the open in the fight for 
reform, Dr. Lin became a vitriolic satirist of officialdom, especially in 
"The Little Critic", a column which he conducted in a Chinese maga- 
zine published in English. Once I told him that he reminded me of 
Boccaccio, who, unable to make direct attacks on the power of the popes 
during the Italian Renaissance, satirized the immorality of individual 
priests and monks. In the scholastic hierarchy Dr. Lin Yu-tang occupied 
a place about half-way between Dr. Hu Shih and the revolutionary Lu 
Hsiin. Lu Hsiin charged that Dr. Lin's approach exercised a bad influ- 
ence on youth because it led them to make humour out of political prob- 
lems rather than face them. Lacking Dr. Lin's satirical genius, they wrote 
anaemic, mediocre essays, jesting at frightful and bloody oppression. 

Although more of an organizer and administrator and politician 
than a scholar, Mr. Yang Chien was also one of this group. Unlike the 
others, and despite his liberalism, he was a member of the Kuomintang. 
He was secretary general of the Academia Sinica, which nurrfbered Dr. 
Hu, Dr. Lin, and scores of other scholars among its members. The 
president of the Academia was Dr. Tsai Yuan-pei, an old scholar, a 
humanitarian, and perhaps the most eminent of Chinese educators. In 
the middle of 1932 these scholars helped organize the first League of 
Civil Rights in China. Though members of the Kuomintang, Dr. Tsai 
Yuan-pei became president and Mr. Yang Chien secretary. Madame 
Sun Yat-sen was made chairman ; Dr. Lin Yu-tang and Lu Hsiin were 
on its executive "committee. The only foreigners involved were Mr. 
Harold Isaacs a young American newspaper man and myself. Dr. 
Lin, Mr. Isaacs, and I were responsible for all publications and corres- 
pondence in the English language. 

Our League took part in three campaigns for civil rights. The first was 


on behalf of a Chinese newspaper man arrested and secretly tortured to 
death in Chinkiang, near Shanghai. General Ku Chu-tung, Governor, 
lived in Chinkiang. This newspaper man had exposed the opium traffic 
and other corrupt practices with which General Ku was said to be con- 
nected. His murder aroused the Chinese Press of Shanghai and it, 
together with our League, put up a valiant fight. We demanded a public 
investigation and the removal from office of General Ku. 

General Ku issued a statement that the dead man had been a Com- 
munist; as "proof" he charged that five years before, in 1927, the man 
had tried to organize the ricksha coolies of Chinkiang. No Chinese news- 
paper outside the foreign concessions dared even mention the case, but 
the Shanghai Chinese Press and our League pressed it vigorously. 
* General Ku invited our president and secretary to a dinner "to talk 
things over", arid when they refused, the Blue Shirts of Nanking issued a 
secret warning to them to cease their activities. A Kuomintang committee 
secretly investigated the case, even exhuming the body of the dead man, 
but their findings were kept secret. Mr. Yang, who was an important 
Kuomintang member, told me that one of the legs of the dead man was 
found to be completely crushed. 

By machinations beyond fathoming, the case was gradually smothered 
and soon became only a bitter memory. We had achieved nothing, and 
General Ku remained Governor. 

Our League next attempted the public defence of five trade-union 
organizers accused of being Communists. We did not even demand a 
jury trial, for juries were unknown, and to have demanded one would 
have been like asking for the moon. Of the two lawyers who volunteered 
their services, one dropped out when he received a warning following 
the first hearing, and the other fled when Blue Shirts threatened to 
destroy his business and kill him. We failed again, totally and completely. 
Of the five prisoners, only one was saved. His mother, an influential 
Kuomintang member, secured his release. 

The third case, in the spring of 1933, concerned the woman writer 
Ting Ling, a friend of mine. Along with another writer, Pan Nien, she 
had been kidnapped by Blue Shirts and spirited away to Nanking. Yang 
Ghien, our secretary, took up this case with tremendous earnestness, 
issuing an appeal to the public. 

A few days afterwards four Blue Shirts shot him dead on the steps of the 
Academia Sinica. 

Our League for Civil Rights came to an inglorious end vanquished 
by the Terror. 

But the murder of Yang Chien, one of the best-knoWn liberals, and the 
abduction of Ting Ling, a well-known writer, did become an international 
issue. Protests from American writers, women's groups, and intellectuals 
saved the life of Ting Ling, but Mr. Yang was dead. 

Mr. Yang had been one of my friends. The revolutionary history of 

China, the influence of the intellectual renaissance, and study at Cornell 
University in America had made him a convinced democrat and 
patriot. He did not like the Communists personally, but he was opposed 
to the anti-Communist terror and to civil war. To him I owed much of 
my knowledge of old Chinese society, and it had been he and the lyric 
poet Hsu Tze-moh who had often taken me to the old Peking drama. 
The three of us often called on friends, or went to some tea-house or 
temple to spend an evening in friendly talk. Mr. Yang's vivacious and 
witty conversation was among the few gay aspects of my life. My two 
friends spoke with amazing freedom of their own and their friends' love 
affairs and, to my continual delight, their spirited conversation was 
enlivened by vivid pictures of patricians harassed by love and irate 
marriage partners. Mr. Yang had had my book Daughter of Earth trans- 
lated into Chinese and had introduced it to the public in his writings and 
lectures. But I sometimes noticed that he was more interested in my 
moral aberrations than in the social message of the book. 

Mr. Hsu, the lyric poet, was killed in an airplane accident, and Yang 
Chien remained the first martyr to Chinese civil liberties. My friends 
were falling while I remained untouched ; sometimes I felt as though I 
were living on the labour of others. 

If I too paid my price, it seemed mild compared with that of the 
Chinese. After the German newspaper for which I corresponded ter- 
minated our contract, I was forced to live an my meagre savings. I also 
started to work on a new book. The American Consulate seemed to 
know of my financial difficulties, for one day a consular official invited me 
to lunch and asked me to make confidential reports for him on the 
strength, activities, and programme of the Chinese Communist Party. 
He brushed my refusal aside, pointing out that small reports day by day 
or as I came into possession of facts would be sufficient. He was too polite 
to suggest that^I become a spy; instead, he asserted that our State 
Department should know the truth. To what end, I wondered. One 
consular official in China who had compiled an unprejudiced study of 
the Communist movement had been called a "Red" and was even 
ordered back to Washington for questioning. Other consular reports 
which I had read always referred to the Chinese Communists as "ver- 

As the consular official and I left the restaurant, we met one of his 
superiors on the street. Right before my face my host said to the other: 
"She says she knows nothing !" 

The two men laughed. 

I was determined that any facts which I gathered about the Chinese 
Revolution, should be laid before the American public. That these would 
be incomplete and would be considered one-sided went without saying. 
Enough people were writing about the other side, and many were writing 
nothing else. I would write of the common people, the soldiei?, and the 


intellectuals of those who struggled for liberation from any form of 


ONE DAY IN the spring of 1933 Li, a Chinese engineer, told me he was 
going to Peiping to meet representatives of the Manchurian Volunteers 
who were fighting the Japanese in the north-east. He planned to return 
to Manchuria with them. While in Peiping, he needed a safe place in 
which to live, and asked me for help. I wrote a foreign friend asking him 
to meet Li at a certain foreign hotel. 

Ten days passed, and my foreign friend wrote that he had gone 
repeatedly to tho meeting-place, but the engineer had not appeared. I 
was at once sure that Li fyad been arrested. I informed his wife, and she 
and all their friends immediately moved to new addresses. My address 
remained the only one he would know. 

I was preparing to leave China for a sanatorium in the Soviet Union 
where I could receive treatment for a heart ailment. The night before I 
sailed, my telephone rang and I heard the voice of the engineer, tense 
with excitement. He told me that he had just got out of "the hospital" 
and wanted to see me at once. 

While waiting for him, I wondered if he had returned as a spy. The 
reference to "the hospital" meant he had been arrested. Few men ever 
escaped from their captors; those who did were seldom trusted. But I 
felt instinctively that even though we had not been close friends I could 
trust this man fully. This instinct often guided me in my judgment of 
Chinese. It had caused me to dismiss Feng Da, my own secretary, and to 
look with distrust on his marriage with the woman writer Ting Ling. 

When Li arrived, he was dishevelled and agitated and his face showed 
marks of serious strain. 

"I know you think I have come back a spy," he said, "but wait till you 
hear my story." 

Sitting across the desk from me, and speaking in fluent English, he 
.began : 

"As my train neared Peiping, two men came up, seized me, and forced 
me to go with them. They said I was under arrest, but neither then nor 
later did they show any authority. I knew one of them. He was a former 
leader of the Communist Youth who went over to the Blue Shirts. He 
now helps kidnap his former comrades. 

"These two men took me to a house in Peiping and ordered me to tell 
them where I was going and to give them the names and addresses of my 
comrades. I insisted that I had left the Communist Party months before 
and was now on my way to Manchuria to join the Volunteers. Of course 
that was as bad as being a Communist. 

"Uncertain about me, they brought me back to Shanghai and said I 

would have to give the names and addresses of people I knew here. 
When we arrived, a detective in a motor car met us, and I noticed the 
licence number was 1469. This detective was also an ex-Communist and 
is now a Blue Shirt detective. 

"We drove to a small, dirty inn, the East Hung Chi, on the border of 
Nantao and the French Concession. It is a gangster den to which men 
and women are brought to be tortured until they say they are Com- 
munists. They are then turned over to the police." 

"Why do they take them there instead of to the police?" I asked. 

"I could not learn; I think perhaps they receive money for each 
Communist they capture, so they force people to say they are Com- 
munists. I saw many gangsters coining and going, and in some rooms 
they gambled and quarrelled and fought. By their talk I knew they wene 
the henchmen of Tu Yueh-seng, the gang leader whom Generalissimo 
Chiang appointed chief agent in Shanghai for suppressing Communists 
a year ago. Since then the whole underworld has been turned loose 
against us. 

"Then the detectives unbound me and forced me to watch the torture 
of prisoners. A couple, man and wife, who looked like poor intellectuals, 
were surrounded by gangsters. The captives denied they were Com- 
munists. The detectives made me go up so they could see my face. 
They did not know me nor I them. To make them confess they put them 
on the airplane. 

"The airplane is a kind of torture. They tied their hands behind them 
and then suspended them by their bound hands from a rope thrown over 
a beam. The woman fainted almost at once. A gangster took a wooden 
mallet and beat the chest of the man as he swung about. A man's chest 
becomes as tight as a drum when he hangs like that. The man cried 
horribly, blood began to gush from his mouth, and he lost consciousness. 
The gangsters took the couple down, carried them out, and brought in a 
man who was trying to fight them. They threw him on the floor and sat 
on his chest, thrust a rubber tube in his nostrils, and poured through it a 
filthy mixture which smelled like excrement and gasoline. His stomach 
bulged out. Then they sat on his stomach and the filth spurted out. 
They poured him full again and he vomited. When he lay very still they 
dragged him through a door. 

"The detectives had forced me to look at him, and him at me. Of 
course he saw me standing with his torturers and perhaps thought me 
one of them." 

"Wait a minute !" I interrupted. "Why were you not tortured like the 

"The Blue Shirts have adopted a new method with leading intellec- 
tuals," he replied bitterly. "They kill a worker or a peasant, for there is 
no way out for such men except the revolution. But the Blue Shirts know 
that an intellectual may waver, go over to them, and get a position in the 


Government or in the Blue Shirts. If we refuse to betray, they destroy us. 
They take us where other prisoners can recognize us, so that even if we 
manage to escape, none of our comrades will ever trust us again. Some- 
times they make intellectuals accompany them through prisons in order 
that political prisoners may see them and never trust them again/* 

He turned back to his story. 

"Under threat that they would treat me as they had treated the other 
prisoners, the detectives ordered me to write letters asking my friends to 
meet me in the Great Eastern Hotel in the International Settlement. 
Hoping to escape, I pretended to agree. I wrote two cards to false 
names and addresses ; then they took me to the Great Eastern, hired a 
room adjoining mine, and locked my door. 

"The first night they watched me closely and I could do nothing. 
The next night I heard them snoring. I crept to the window, intending 
to slide down the drain-pipe to the street three stories below. Just as I 
put my leg out, I heard a noise, and, looking down, saw a man creeping up 
the drain-pipe ! He caught the window-ledge just beneath mine, cau- 
tiously lifted the window, and then I realized he was a burglar. Before 
he could crawl into the room a woman screamed and he darted out and 
slid down the drain-pipe. There was a great commotion and I could 
not escape that night. 

"No one came in answer to my cards, but I told the detectives it was 
because the man I once knew had probably moved or because no one 
would come to meet me anyway. They were very angry, and took me 
back to their den and said they could convince me. Just as we entered, 
two gangsters were bringing in a good-looking, well-dressed man. We 
followed him right in and I was forced to confront him. I had never seen 
him. He was so scared that when they threatened to torture him, he 
began to betray his comrades. 

"This miserable fellow sat down, trembling, and said that Ting Ling", 
the woman writer, was having a meeting that night at her home on 
Quinsan Road with two men writers who helped her edit a literary 
magazine. He insisted that Ting Ling was not a Communist, but never- 
theless a Leftist." 

"Wait!" I exclaimed. "Describe that man!" 

He described my former secretary, Feng Da. I walked about the room 
in the deepest agitation, then turned to listen again. 

"It was now dark," the engineer continued, "and the two Blue Shirt 
detectives and a chauffeur pushed me into that same motor-car, No. 
1469, and we drove to the address given by that coward. On the fourth 
floor the door was opened by a woman who must have been Ting Ling. 
She did not say a word, but turned very white when the chauffeur 
grabbed her and tied her with a rope, then forced her down the stairs. 

"At the same time I was pushed into the room and saw two men, one 
tall and thin and one short and now very pale. Everything happened 

very quickly. The tall, thin man stood with his back to an open window, 
and when one of the detectives went towards him, he began to fight. 
But he was frail, and when the fiht grew fierce, he whirled and threw 
himself through the window down the four stories. The detective 
shouted, then ran fearfully out, to get the body perhaps to avoid another 
kidnapping scandal in the foreign settlement. 

"The shorter man in the room had also begun to fight, and I picked up 
a stool and hit the detective on the head. As he staggered, I turned and 
fled down the stairs, along the street, and mingled with the crowds on 
Szechuen Road. I telephoned from a shop to my wife, but there was no 
answer. So I called you." 

After a moment he added : "That is my story. Of course you will not 
believe me. No one could. It is too fantastic. But I swear that it's true." 

We sat in silence. Finally he said : "Tell my wife what I have told 
you. I will stay in a cheap inn I know, and she can have comrades watch 
me if she wishes." 

"I know nothing of your wife or your comrades," I answered. "I 
collect stories, and yours is an interesting one." 

Wearily he lowered his head and sat in silence. Yet I knew he was 
telling the truth^ knew it as well as a mother knows whether her child is 
lying or not. 

"Give me the name and address of your inn," I said. 

After he had done so, he sat thinking for a time, then said : "Tell her 
this : one week from tonight, at this time, I will stand before the Buddhist 
temple on Bubbling Well Road, with a foreign newspaper in my left 
hand. If my comrades trust me, one should follow me as I walk away to 
a quiet street. He should approach me and ask if I have seen the four 
T'ang horses. I will reply that I have seen only three." 

"And if they do not trust you?" 

In a dead voice he answered : "Then let them do with me as they wish. 

"I have no money at all," he continued. I gave him a few bills, and he 
left my apartment quickly. 

Weeks later, in my room in a sanatorium in the Caucasus in the Soviet 
Union, I opened some late English-language newspapers from Shanghai. 
The earlier ones gave details of the assassination of my friend Yang 
Chien and the disappearance of Ting Ling and a man writer, Pan Nien. 
Not a word about the Blue Shirts or the man who had thrown himself 
from the window in Ting Ling's room. 

The prominent position of Yang Chien had made necessary some 
explanation for hie murder, and the French police had arrested two of his 
assailants, both wounded as they tried to escape. One had confessed 
before he died. The police announced that they were unable to reveal 
the men responsible for the murder "because this would involve the 
highest personalities in the Chinese Government". 


f Shortly after this, the startling headline : "Another Communist Out- 
rage" caught my eye. It concerned the murder of a Chinese detective, a 
former Communist, who had "distingldshed himself by hunting Com- 
munist bandits to their lairs". He and his chauffeur had been shot dead 
just as their car drew up before the Sweetheart, a brothel in an alley- 
way in the International Settlement. The police had refused to give out 
any information about it save to say they suspected Communist ven- 
geance. The motor-car was a large one and the licence number, the 
report said, was 1469. 

Two years later, after I had circled the globe, my door-bell in Shanghai 
rang, and when I opened it, the ghost of the engineer, Li, was leaning 
against the door-frame. His sick eyes stared at me from a gaunt and 
bloodless face. He trembled and his head wobbled from side to side as I 
led him into my guest room, undressed him, and put him to bed. He lay 
very still, like a man who has reached the point where he is ready to die. 
I called a doctor. The engineer had malaria, an enlarged heart, intestinal 
parasites, inflamed tonsils, decayed teeth, anaemia. 

For weeks he lay ill, staring at the ceiling above him, but when his 
health improved, he began to talk. First I asked him what had happened 
the night after he had left my house two years before. 

"One week later," he said, "I stood before that Buddhist temple on 
Bubbling Well Road, and when I walked away a man followed. He came 
up and asked me : 

" 'Have you seen the four T'ang horses?' 

" 'Not four, but three,' I answered. We talked and he arranged for 
my trip into Soviet Kiangsi, where the Central Committee of our party 
had moved. I went by coastal steamer to Swatow in the south, where I 
met a man who led me to a river-boat. The boatman paid no attention 
to me, but took me to a distant village and delivered me to a man 'who 
guided me northwards into the mountains of Fukien." 

From Tingchow, in Fukien, Li had turned due west to Shuikin, the 
Soviet capital. He was examined by the Central Committee of his party, 
then put in charge of a Red Army arsenal near Shuikin. Since educated 
technical men were few, he was later asked to do almost everything from 
manufacturing war materials to constructing a soap and medicine 
factory for Red Army hospitals. His account covered every field of 
activity in the Soviet regions medical work, education, administrative 
problems, mineral ores and vegetation, newspapers and books. 

Part of his tale touched on the great military campaigns of the Kuo- 
mintang against the Red Army, and of the Battle at Kwanchang, in 
which the power of the Red Army had been shattered. In that one battle 
the Red Army lost four thousand men, and when it received orders to 
assemble for the Long March, it had to leave twenty thousand wounded 
behind. One hundred thousand men began that march in September 

19349 but only the highest leaders knew what lay ahead. Of these he was 
one. He had buried his arsenal machinery and, with his staff of skilled 
workers, assembled as ordered. Then came the secret march through the 
cordon of Kuomintang troops. While the Kuomintang armies followed 
plans formulated by the German Reichswehr officer General von Seeckt, 
another foreigner, a German with the Chinese name of Li Teh, was 
responsible in the Red Army for the plan of positional fighting which 
resulted in defeat. His ideas had prevailed against those of Mao Tze- 
tung, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, an experienced 
guerrilla fighter. . . . 

The engineer's story carried me along on a march and through a 
struggle such as history has seldom known across mountains and rivers, 
in and out of battle, and by a thousand small and touching details into 
the lives of the common people. . . , 

He told of the cruel cunning of the militarists : 

"As our Army passed through northern Kwangsi mountains, officials 
beat gongs in the villages and cried that bandits were coming! The 
peasants fled. We marched through empty villages, but never molested 
a home. 1 fell ill with malaria, and along with a great many sick and 
wounded men fell behind the Army. We sometimes saw officials and 
policemen, thinking our Army had passed, return to the villages, burn or 
loot homes, and then, when the peasants returned, tell them that the 
crimes were the work of the Red Army. The people were turned against 


He spoke of their treachery : "Soldiers or policemen would waylay our 
sick or wounded and shoot them down. Their detectives dressed them- 
selves in clothing taken from our dead and then mingled with us as spies. 
I shot one man whom I saw do this." 

And of the poverty of the peasants : "How poor are the people of 
Kweichow Province ! I once went into a peasant hut and found an old 
woman cowering in a corner. She ran out, caught her only chicken, and 
fearfully offered it to me. When I paid her for it she wept. Thousands of 
poor men joined our Army." 

He told of terrible betrayals : "When we reached northern Yunnan, a 
school-teacher led the peasants to welcome us. This teacher had become 
a guerrilla commander, and because I was sick with malaria, our Army 
ordered me to remain behind as his political director. After the Army 
passed on and the Kuomintang Army approached, this teacher wel- 
comed them as he had welcomed the Red Army ! I had to flee for my life." 

And of incredible extremes : "I moved on northwards and met soldiers. 
They stripped me naked, taking even my eyeglasses. I came to a convent 
of Buddhist nuns ; they gave me a robe and lent me seventy dollars to 
take me to Shanghai. I expected to die on the way. If your name had 
not been in the telephone book, I think I should have died, for all my 
friends are scattered." 


Once he said : "From the time I left you that night over two years ago, 
I began to keep a diary for you, but when we left on the Long March I 
buried it with my machinery." 

When he was once again able to travel, Li left for the Soviet Union for 
continued treatment and study. I never saw him again. 

A wounded Red Army commander lived for a time in my home so that 
I might write down another epic covering nearly half a century of 
Chinese life. He was Ghou Chien-ping, the commander of the Tenth 
Red Army Corps in its early days. This was when Fang Chih-ming, a 
chemical engineer, was political leader and organizer of the corps. 

I never met Fang, yet of all the deaths of Red Army commanders, his 
execution in Nanchang in January 1933 affected me most deeply. Per- 
haps it was the hateful way a foreign newspaper correspondent, "Rex 
Driscoll", reported his execution that hit me so hard. I had never heard 
of Driscoll before and have not heard of him since. It may be that a 
missionary assumed the name for the purpose of publishing the reports. 
When Fang was captured in the battle that annihilated his small army, a 
wave of glee swept the ruling class, both foreign and Chinese. A tone of 
gloating runs through Driscoll's report, but the facts he recorded speak 
for themselves. Fang was placed inside an animal cage and paraded 
through the streets of Nanchang. People ridiculed him with the title of 
"King" because he sat proudly and with dignity inside the cage. When 
paraded before a mass meeting, he called to the people to arise and fight 
for liberation, and when taken out to be killed, he besought his execu- 
tioners to join the revolution. 

Chou told me his tales of Fang Chih-ming in a dry, matter-of-fact manner, 
but out of them there arose the figure of a great organizer whose loss 
China had ill been able to afford. Fang had exercised magic power over 
the common people because his every act was so plainly in their interest. 
He had organized primary schools and hospitals, agricultural exhibitions 
to improve the crops, a Red Army Training Academy, civilian night 
schools to end adult illiteracy, two large arsenals, and a Land Mine 
v Bureau to take the place of the numberless home arsenals of the peasants. 

Chou Chien-ping was a quiet, unassuming little man who had sprung 
from poor peasants in Kwangsi. His father had died when he was five 
and his mother had earned a living as a wash-woman. He had joined the 
Army as a boy orderly at the age of ten and had risen to the rank of 
battalion commander. When he joined the Red Army, he took his entire 
battalion with him. 

After leaving my home, Commander Chou went to the north-west to 
rejoin the Red Army. A few weeks later, at the age of forty-six, he died of 


W HENMYHEALTH broke down again in 1 933, 1 left China for the Soviet 
Union, where I remained for eleven months. Part of this time was spent 
in a sanatorium in Kislovodsk in the Caucasus, and the remainder in 
Moscow and Leningrad, where I completed my book China's Red Army 
Marches. Since my activities were restricted by my illness and by the 
work I had to do on my book, I was able to get only brief glimpses of 
Soviet life. 

Once a watering-place for the Russian nobility, Kislovodsk had been 
turned into a city of rest homes where tens of thousands took free annual 
vacations. At that time there were fifty-nine of these homes, with eleven 
others under construction. The Red Army utilized two of these, the 
"learned professions" two, the textile workers' union one, and the 
miners' union one, a beautiful structure on a cliff overlooking magnifi- 
cent mountain ranges. 

After a few weeks I made the acquaintance of a Red Army officer and 
accompanied him on a visit to a rest home for commanders. It was early 
evening and hundreds of them stood in a garden where they had just 
seen a motion picture. They continued their military education during 
their vacations, with daily lectures and blackboard and moving-picture 
demonstrations. I was introduced to a commander, a professor from the 
Red Army Academy in Moscow. He spoke perfect English, and when he 
learned that I was an American, remarked that his life had once been 
saved by General Graves, commander of the American Expeditionary 
Army in Siberia during the Russian Revolution. In 1 920 I believe that 
was the date he gave he had been editor of a newspaper in Vladivostok 
when the Japanese arrested him and eleven of his comrades. They were 
about to be executed when General Graves sent American troops and 
forced the Japanese to release them. 

This professor told me that General Graves's book, America's Siberian 
Adventure, had been translated into Russian and published by the Red 
Army Publishing House. The Introduction to the book traced the history 
of American-Japanese relations in the Pacific and the conflict in their 
interests and policies. This conflict was reflected in General Graves's 
outspoken abhorrence of the Japanese and their White Russian puppets 
to whom he always referred as butchers. 

Under the system of socialized medical care, doctors and nurses made 
physical examinations of all arrivals in the health resort, and those need- 
ing medical or dental treatment received it without cost. The park and 
surrounding wooded hills were lined by winding paths, with numbered 
stations on the slopes. When a doctor said a patient could walk to the 
highest station, his cure was complete. 

When I was at last allowed to go to the highest station, an American 
Indian friend a student in the Academy of Science at Leningrad 
accompanied me, and we walked over the wild, lonely mountain ranges. 


Wandering about, we came upon a solitary shepherd youth of about 
twenty, herding a large flock of sheep. 

My friend could speak Russian, so we halted and asked the youth 
where he came from. His movements were so slow and thoughtful and 
his voice so unhurried that he seemed to be a part of the solitude. He said 
his collective sheep farm was in the valley far below us. Accepting the 
cigarette we offered, he sat down with us in a field of blue and yellow 
mountain flowers. 

No, he said, he did not*get very lonely in the hills because there were 
so many things to think and read about these days. He drew a paper- 
bound book from his pocket and said he was reading it for the second 
time. It was Tolstoy's War and Peace. Lenin, he quietly added, had con- 
sidered Tolstoy the greatest Russian writer. Did we think the same? 
We talked about this for a few minutes and then he asked us what country 
we came from. 

When we told him that we were Americans, he recalled that some of 
our countrymen had lectured at his farm. From them he had learned 
that there were twelve million unemployed in America. It had seemed 
almost unbelievable, he said as many people as in the entire Caucasus 
perhaps more. It was like a whole country having no way of earning a 
living. Looking compassionately at us with his very blue eyes, he 
remarked that it must be a great misfortune to be born an American. 

"To think of having to ask a rich man for the right to live!" he re- 
marked. "I'm very sorry for you." 

"It's not so hot!" my friend agreed. 

I wondered what would happen if the Soviet Union ever opened its 
doors to immigrants. Would millions of the poor pour into it as they had 
once poured into America? Certainly I had heard tales of political 
wrongdoing, but could my own country truly say that its politics were 
pure? Could one say it of French or English rule? No, not unless one 
chose to forget India, or to ignore the fact that the cruelties inflicted on 
the natives of French Indo-China Were a byword in the Far East, 

Limited as had been my visits to the Soviet Union, I was deeply 
impressed by what I had seen. Kislovodsk itself was but one of hundreds 
of rest and recreation resorts for those who laboured. And everywhere 
great cities and industries had risen where none had been a few years 
before. Medicine had been successfully socialized, and education from 
grade school through universities was free. In such great metropolitan 
centres as Moscow and Leningrad cultural life was rich and varied. 
Books were issued in millions of copies and .the great classics could be 
bought for a few kopeks a volume. Fine music and good theatres were 
widespread ; the folk-life of the people flourished, and at almost any hour 
one might see a crowd on a boulevard watching Red Army soldiers and 
civilians dancing folk-dances. 

The life of the Red Army was particularly attractive : it had its own 

great theatres and publishing house, and its men, down to the last private, 
received the best educational and military training possible. I doubted 
if any army in the world surpassed it in such directions. 

As I looked upon the Soviet scene, I constantly compared its swift and 
broad advance with conditions in China. China had developed a few of 
its ro^ds and industries, but they constantly staggered under the burden 
of self-seeking private interests. It had built primary schools, but the 
children of the poor could not afford to attend them. Within its armies 
the corruption was notorious. China was bound by a thousand chains 
both internal and foreign ; the people of the Soviet Union laboured under 
heavy burdens, but no one owned them, their land, or their industries. 
They were a proud, awakened people. 

Yet I could not imagine spending my life outside of China ; just why I 
could not say. Life in the Soviet Union would have been free and easy 
compared with life in China, and the income from the Russian editions 
of my books would have not only maintained me, but even left a large 
surplus in the bank. But social and literary interests drew me irresistibly 
back to China. There, too, my friends lived and struggled. 

But first I hoped to establish myself as the correspondent of some 
American publication, and therefore decided to return to America. I 
left the Soviet Union in the spring of 1934, passed through central 
Europe, and set sail from France as a third-class passenger. 

Once in New York, I tramped the streets of the city trying to find a 
position on some newspaper. I failed. One was willing, but when the 
editor asked if I thought there would be war in the Far East and I said 
yes, he replied that his paper could not publish articles with such a 
tendency. His paper, he said, stood for peace. 

America was like a strange planet, and the friends of my youth, now 
middle-aged, seemed to be living and thinking much as they had lived 
and thought fifteen years before. On the west coast I visited my sister 
and my youngest brother, a veteran of the first World War. I had last 
seen my brother when he was a child, and he was now past thirty and^had 
a wife and family. My sister was the principal of an elementary scliool. 
I had no place whatever in the life of either of them. 

From my brother and sister I learned about my father, then a man in 
his seventies and as hale and hearty as any animal. He owned horses and 
chased women. The rest of the time he drank. Moved by 
duty, I had sometimes sent him money out of the 
books. With these he bought gallon jugs of whisky, lir 
a wall and went on a toot that lasted for weeks or : 

Two years later, when I was back in 
remorse on learning of his death. But the 
followed this announcement set my spirit at rest. 
in Oklahoma he had won sixteen bottles of 
drunk them all Then he up and died. 




N E EVENING IN the spring of 1 936 at the Shanghai home of my friend 
Lu Hsiin I met a writer who had just come from the north-west as 
representative of the Chinese Red Army. He had made the epic Long 
March, that historic trek made by an entire army across twelve thousand 
miles of plains and rivers and mountains. 

Every evening for weeks I sat with him, taking notes of his conversa- 
tion. Though calm and -factual, his recital was filled with pictures of 
incredible suffering and perseverance. Speaking of the long wanderings 
in the snows of eastern Tibet, he would say : 

"Men grew so exhausted that when they squatted for natural functions, 
they were too weak to get up again. Thousands froze to death. For 
months we had only corn to eat, and many could not digest it. It passed 
through them. Others gathered it up, washed it, and ate it again only 
to expel it once more. . . . 

"When those of us who survived emerged at last on the plains of 
Kansu and saw our own native folk, we threw our arms about them, 
weeping and laughing. We were in rags or skins, or cloth primitively 
woven from sheep's wool. We were as gaunt as skeletons, and thousands 
of us were sick. The nights echoed with our coughing. Kansu was so 
poor that we often ate dogs, cats, and rats. Sometimes the women of 
the province hid in their huts because there was only one pair of trousers 
to a family and they were worn by the husband. Decades of war, 
famines, drought, taxes, and merciless rents had stripped the people even 
of clothes. To the curse of destitution was added syphilis, spread by 
mercenary armies and the Mongols from the north. Many sfre sterile 
and there are places where no child under fifteen can be found." 

This man told me how desperately medical supplies were needed, 
and thereafter two foreign doctors and I began to collect money and 
became, so to speak, medicine smugglers for the Red Army. 

^ 1 had agkln teco^ne ill, and after consultation with friends decided 
there was but brief place where Blue Shirt gunmen were not a menace 
-west* tractor 'the Young Marshal, Chang Hsueh-liang. Many 
ges had taket\phtce in the character of the Young Marshal since the 
n s, M&ichurian war-lord. The occupation of Abyssinia 
is^mipation for Italian Fascism, and under the influence 
06 ** 

of young men on his staff, he had become a democrat. He had con- 
quered the opium habit and was trying to rid himself of the feudal and 
militaristic influences of his youth. The National Salvation movement, 
banned in other parts of China, was protected in his territory, and 
despite protests from the Government he had permitted a National 
Salvation Congress to be held in Sian. Though under orders from the 
Government to continue the extermination of the Red Army after its 
arrival in the far north-west, neither he nor his troops relished fighting 
their own countrymen while the Japanese were occupying their native 
Manchuria and invading Suiyuan Province. 

A Red Army representative, unofficially on the Young Marshal's 
staff, arranged for me to rest and work in a temple at Lintung, some 
fifteen miles from Sian. This was the centre of the great north-western 
region which had cradled the Chinese race, in which great dynasties 
had arisen out of th* ruins of others and then had themselves decayed 
and been overthrown. There I hoped to regain my health and write 
another book. 

The temple in which I lay had once been the pleasure place of Yang 
Kwei-fei, favourite concubine of Hsiian Tsung, an Emperor who had 
ruled from A.D. 847 to 859. Gazing at Yang Kwei-fei's pavilion, the lotus 
pond, the walks and bridges, I recalled a song which I had once heard an 
old Chinese musician play on his five-stringed lute. His music had 
filled the room like a small orchestra. It was the Song of Unending Sorrow, 
an ancient poem telling how the Emperor mourned for Lady Yang, 
whose spirit sent him a message of undying love from the enchanted isle 
where she dwelt among the immortals. 

In such an atmosphere I read Chinese history and took up again my 
oft-interrupted study of Chinese. As my health improved I often wandered 
across country to the tomb of Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, who founded the 
Ch'in Dynasty in 255 B.C. and tried to destroy the feudal system of his 
time. His vigorous mind had thought in vast terms. It was he who 
began building the Great Wall to keep out the barbarians from the north, 
conscripting one man from each family of China for this work. Under 
his reign mighty irrigation works, Imperial highways, bridges, and 
cities were undertaken. Chang'an (the ancient name for Sian) had once 
been a city of colossal dimensions. Since the Confucian scholars were 
then as they still are the transmitters of feudal thought, Ch'in Shih 
Huang Ti had tried to destroy them and their works, burning all Con- 
fucian writings except those on agriculture, arboriculture, medicine, 
pharmacy, and divination. Near Lintung was a valley which was 
pointed out to me as the place where he had buried alive many recalcitrant 
Confucian scholars. 

As Ch'in Shih Huang Ti grew old and soft in luxury, he turned to 

magic and sought the waters of immortality, which he heard were 

D (China) 97 

on the Blessed Isles somewhere in the eastern sea. It was recorded that 
he sent a fleet with three thousand young men and maidens, under a 
famous magician, to bring back some of this water. These youths are 
said to have colonized Japan which was undoubtedly the worst thing 
they could have done. 

The tomb of the Emperor rises from the plain beyond Lintung 
like a low mountain, and beneath it, say historians, lies buried a palace 
filled with priceless art treasures of ancient China. The floors are of 
copper tlirough which the rivers of China are traced in quicksilver, 
and the copper dome is graven with all that was known in ancient 
astronomy. Only the granite building that once armoured the summit 
of the tomb had been removed sold to an Englishman by a Chinese 
General in need of money. 

Back in my temple at Lintung, I began work on my new book, 
pausing only when friends came from Sian to interrupt my loneliness 
and bring news. One of these friends was from the Red Army, and the 
news he brought was always disturbing. General Fu Tso-yi, Governor 
of Suiyuan Province, was fighting the Japanese, who were occupying 
Inner Mongolia in an effort to isolate China from the Soviet Union. 
The Japanese had also occupied Tsingtao in Shantung Province. In- 
stead of fighting them, the Chinese Government had concentrated its 
most powerful Army, under General Hu Chung-nan, against the Red 
Army in the north-west. Ammunition dumps had been established on 
the roads leading up to this new theatre of war, there had already been 
a number of fierce engagements, and General Hu had already suffered 
defeats. The commanders of the northern and north-western armies had 
held a military conference to discuss the Government orders to surround 
and destroy the Red Army, but feudal inefficiency and conflicting 
interests had dissipated their efforts. Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang's 
Manchurian Army was more modern than most and his officers and men 
wanted to fight the Japanese. 

Instead of an Anti-Red front, an Alliance of Anti-Japanese Armies 
of the north-west was taking form. It consisted of the Red Army, the 
Manchurian (Tungei or North-east) Army, and the HsipeL (North- 
west) or 1 7th Route Army under General Yang Hu-chen. Delegates 
were negotiating with other armies to join the Alliance, and representa- 
tives of the semi-independent Province of Kwangsi in the far south had 
already arrived in Sian. 

Hundreds of students from Peiping and Tientsin had gone into Marshal ' 
Chang's new Student Military Academy. Representatives of the Blue 
Shirts in Sian, led by a man known as Yeh Tao-kang, notified their chief 
of all these developments. When the Generalissimo accused Marshal 
Chang of harbouring Communists in his academy, the Marshal replied 
that his only standard for judging students was their anti-Japanese 

sentiments. "I would advise you not to believe anything the Japanese 
tell you," he added. 

One day in October 1936 three students who had just arrived in Sian 
were kidnapped by the Blue Shirts and imprisoned in Kuomintang 
headquarters. Marshal Chang sent troops who broke down the doors 
and released the students. Such incidents were warnings of an approach* 
ing storm. 

Other news shattered my seclusion at this time. On October 20 a 
Chinese woman friend who lived in the temple she was a gentle woman 
who seemed ignorant of political matters came into my room and said 
dejectedly : 

"We Chinese suffer many losses. Now we have suffered another 
our great writer Lu Hsiin is dead." 

The news of my own father's death had reached me shortly before, 
and I had felt regret and sorrow ; the death of Lu Hsiin came to me not 
only as a personal sorrow, but as a national tragedy. He had not lived 
aimlessly, nor had he given himself over to the search for wealth, power, 
or position. Of all Chinese intellectuals, he had wielded the greatest 
influence over educated youth. He embodied the common good, and the 
disease which killed him was fostered by sorrow and struggle. On death 
itself he had looked with contempt. 

Only for the announcement of his death did the official censors lift 
the ban on his name. His funeral in Shanghai was memorable. Teachers 
and students left their classrooms, clerks their shops, workers their 
factories, and poor writers, artists, and actors came out of their hiding- 
places to follow his body. Madame Sun Yat-sen and her brother, 
Dr. T. V. Soong, were in the procession, and Dr. Soong helped lower 
the coffin to its last resting-place. 

Lu Hsiin was not a Communist, but the Communists honoured his 
all-embracing culture and strength of spirit. In their centre at Yenan 
they later founded the first Lu Hsiin Library; I became the keeper of the 
seals of the foreign-language section and donated to it all the books I had 
collected in China. Later still the Communists established the Lu Hsiin 
Art Academy, to which hundreds of educated youth journeyed from 
every part of the country to study under the best writers, artists, musicians, 
and actors. This was one academy which produced a living and militant 

When Sian friends came out to Lintung on the day following Lu 
Hsfln's death, even the temple manager, a business man without much 
imagination, came in and discussed Lu Hsiin with them. As I listened 
to him and saw that even the owner of an isolated country temple knew 
of Lu Hsun's life and work, I asked myself: "What purpose did all the 
censorship serve?" ^ 

Other events interrupted work on my book. In late November I 
heard of another clash between the Young Marshal and Generalissimo 


Chiang. The Generalissimo had again accused Marshal Chang of failing 
to exterminate the Red Army, and the Young Marshal had replied : 

"I and my officers and men have obeyed you faithfully for years, 
believing your promise to lead us against the Japanese. You have not done 
so. It is not too late. We now demand that you give us the right and 
opportunity to drive out the Japanese. In any case, I must tell you that 
I cannot control my army any longer." 

A few days later a small group of young officers in the uniform of the 
Central Armies appeared at our temple at Lintung and ordered everyone 
to evacuate immediately. The temple was to be prepared as living- 
quarters for Generalissimo Chiang and his armed bodyguard, and as the 
seat of the Anti-Red Military Conference which was to start on December 
7. All villages on the highway to Sian were also ordered to be evacuated. 

I drove into Sian with my Chinese woman friend. The highway was 
choked by a great throng of people carrying their possessions on their 
backs or shoving them on wheel-barrows. Conscripted village men and 
boys were already at work repairing the road, filling up every small hole. 
The Anti-Red Military Conference was obviously not a popular event 
and the people were not being trusted : the empty villages along the high- 
way were now occupied by detectives. Again I recalled the ancient 
past when powerful Court cliques kowtowed and flattered emperors, 
pretending implicit obedience, but in reality serving their own interests. 
Though I believed the Generalissimo to be a nationalist who loved power 
above all else, still I had never considered him the kind of leader to 
order every little rut in his path filled in. His Court clique was certainly 

I secured a small room in the Sian Guest House, the only modern hotel 
in the city, planning to return to the temple later. But within a few days 
the Guest House was filled with high officers of Generalissimo Chiang's 
staff and I learned that hundreds of Blue Shirts had established secret 
centres in many parts of the city. They were said to have machine-guns, 
rifles, and a secret radio station. Hsiao Li-tze, a former Communist 
leader, then the Generalissimo's private secretary, was Governor of the 
province, had his own armed guards in the city, and commanded the 
police. The Kuomintang branch, one of the most unpopular institutions 
in the region, was also armed. 

When the military conference began in Lintung, the atmosphere of 
Sian became tense. Every day I heard reports that the Generalissimo 
was calling high Manchurian officers one by one, offering them money 
and position if they would transfer their allegiance from the Young 
Marshal to himself-r-which would mean their willingness to continue 
civil war. They replied that their homeland was occupied by an enemy 
invader, their families slaughtejed, and their homes outraged ; and then 
they proceeded to report back to the Young Marshal. 

One morning my Red Army friend came to borrow my pistol and 

cartridges. There was proof, he said, that the Blue Shirts, aided by the 
Sian police, were planning an uprising that might result in wholesale 

On December 9, the anniversary of the anti-Japanese student move- 
ment which had begun in Peiping, thousands of Sian students and school 
children marched through the streets, singing national songs and dis- 
tributing handbills urging national unity. They planned to petition 
Generalissimo Chiang to end the civil war and help General Fu Tso-yi 
fight the Japanese in Suiyuan. Under orders from the Governor, who 
received his instructions from the Generalissimo, the demonstration 
was attacked by the police, and two young boys, sons of Manchurian 
Army commanders, were wounded. The atmosphere of* the city became 

A few hours later a Blue Shirt, refusing to give his name or show any 
identification, came to demand my passport and residence visa and to ask 
why I had taken pictures of the student demonstration. I showed the 
visa, but replied that there was no law against taking pictures of students. 
He rushed off to the police captain who had given me the visa and, as I 
heard later, slapped the captain's face, tore the stripes from his uniform, 
and dismissed him from the service. Because the captain had referred 
him to the city government, which had ordered the visa, the Blue Shirt 
then stormed over to the city government offices ; but here the officials 
told him to get out or be thrown out. Wild with fury, he returned to the 
hotel and declared that if the manager didn't throw me out he would 
do so himself and "settle with her once and for all" ! 

I reported these events to x a Manchurian staff officer and the Red 
Army representative that night. They were furious. "Stay right here and 
defy the Blue Shirts!" they ordered. "If they attack you, it will become 
an international incident and expose them as having attacked a foreign 
friend of China while refusing to fire a shot at the Japanese!" 

So I waited to become an international incident ! 

The next day the hotel manager received an ultimatum to throw me 
out within twenty-four hours. When I refused to go, the manager wailed 
that I would be killed. 

I have never been able to learn all the details of what happened in 
Sian on the fateful night of the i ith of December, 1936. What I did learn 
was that throughout that night Marshal Chang, General Yang Hu-chen, 
and their high staff officers held a conference, and that at dawn a body 
of their troops, led by a young officer, Captain Sun, surrounded the 
temple at Lintung. Thirty of the Generalissimo's bodyguard and their 
commander, Chiang's nephew, were killed. The Generalissimo escaped 
in his nightshirt to a hill and hid behind a pile of stones, where Captain 
Sun found him. Chiang reminded Captain Sun that he was his Com- 
mander-in-chief., Captain Sun told me later that he had kowtowed 
politely to Chiang and then replied : "You are also our prisoner." 


Because the Generalissimo's feet were bruised by the rocks, Captain 
Sun carried him down the hill on his back and then delivered him to 
Marshal Chang and General Yang in Sian. 

That night I had been unable to sleep and had wandered around my 
room fully dressed. I was standing at the window, watching the fir$t 
streaks of dawn, when I heard the hammering of machine-guns and the 
bursts of rifle-fire. "Well," I thought, "this is it! The Blue Shirts have 
started their uprising!" My heart almost stopped beating when I heard 
the sound of running feet within the hotel, then hoarse shouts and excited 
voices. Rifle-shots came from somewhere near by, and then above the 
ominous cries and the crashing of doors rose the sound of splintering 
glass. The sounds were all those of danger and death. A woman 
screamed, men shouted, and automobile engines started up with a roar. 

Rifle-butts crashed against my door. Unwilling to help in my own 
murder, I backed into a corner just as three rifle-shots splintered the 
wood and the glass panel crashed and scattered. I heard shouts of 
"Japanese !" and thought in terror : "God ! They're going to kill me under 
the pretence that I'm a Japanese !" 

A soldier's head appeared through the door-panel and stared wildly 
about. I recalled enough Chinese to say: "I'm not Japanese. I'm an 

Someone pushed him, and he tumbled into the room. A crowd of 
grey-clad soldiers, rifles ready, poured after him and then milled around 
confusedly. Some dashed into the bathroom, others jerked open the 
door of the clothes closet, and then all but two streamed out and began 
beating on the manager's door, which was next to mine. 

The two soldiers left in my room began moving about. One suddenly 
thrust his rifle-barrel into my stomach and pushed me back against the 
wall, while the other dumped everything out of my dressing-table. He 
filled his pockets with everything that struck his fancy my eyeglasses, 
rolls of film, flashlight and batteries. He gathered up my woollen 
sweater and woollen underwear with particular exclamations of 

The soldier pinning me to the wall reached out and flipped over the 
pillow on my bed. There lay my purse, with all my money. With 
cries of joy the two soldiers pounced on it and divided up the money. 
One took my fountain pen and one my pencil, then each clipped his 
trophy into his breast pocket. Finally each dragged a woollen blanket 
from the bed and disappeared down the hall. 

Convinced that the marauders were interested only in loot, I staggered 
into my bathroom and bathed my face. Then I sat down and listened to 
the strange roar that filled the hotel and the surrounding city. I had read 
of soldiers running amok, and here I ,was living through such an incident. 
Curiosity overcame my fear, and I peered cautiously into the hall, then 
into the room of the hotel manager, next door. Two big trunks were 

open and garments were scattered about. I called and a faint voice 

"They're only looting !" I called. 

His face still white, the manager crawled out from under the bed and 
began clawing through his things. "They've taken my fur coat!" he 
wailed. "They've taken everything!" 

Finally he peered out into the hall. "Now, don't be scared," he 
assured me. "I'll take care of this !" 

He disappeared down the hall and was soon back, bringing with him 
a young officer who carried a cocked automatic and seemed half-crazed 
by the excitement. A soldier dashed past ; the officer shouted an order 
and aimed his pistol at him. The soldier halted, returned, and stood at 
attention. The officer first rained curses on him and then threatened 
him with many kinds of torture if he allowed anyone to enter my room. 
The manager found a sheet of paper and a Chinese brush, and on this 
the officer wrote : 


He signed it, and the manager, with the air of one who has done his 
work well, tacked it to my door. The moment the officer and the 
manager were out of sight, the soldier craned his neck into my room, 
walked over to where my clothes were heaped, and began rummaging 
in them. Nothing worth while there. . . . Then he caught a glimpse of 
my wrist watch. He reached out, grabbed my arm, tore the watch off 
and disappeared down the hall ! 

I stood staring at the handsome sign, which no soldier would stop 
to read, which none could read even if he stopped, and which none would 
obey even if he could read. 

Gradually the sound of shooting both in the city and in the hotel 
ebbed away and at last officers began driving the soldiers out into the 
open. With the manager I stood in the hotel doorway and watched a 
couple of young officers racing back and forth before a line of sullen- 
eyed soldiers in the yard, stripping bulging pockets of loot, piling gar- 
ments on the earth. The manager blanched at the stream of invectives 
that poured from the mouths of the officers. I gathered from what they 
were saying that the female ancestors of the soldiers had led fairly 
colourful lives. 

Above the sound of the telephone, which throughout had been ringing 
unheeded, we now heard the shouts of servants. The manager dashed 
away and returned crying : 

"A man's bleeding to death in there ! Do you know anything about 
first aid?" 

I remembered an untouched suitcase under my bed and dug out my 


first-aid kit and ran down the hall. I found a short man with a small 
black moustache he looked for all the world like a Japanese lying on a 
bloody pillow. Examining him, the manager and I saw he was more 
frightened than hurt. A bullet had passed through the thin part of 
each cheek, but not a tooth was touched. Probably he had been shout- 
ing, his mouth wide open. While the manager made strong coffee, I 
cleaned the man up, applied dressings, then fed him coffee with a spoon. 
All the while he kept assuring us that he was not a Japanese. 

After an ambulance had taken the man away, I noticed that the 
manager was dragging his trunks into my room. 

"The soldiers may come again !" he explained. "You are a foreigner, 
and your room is safer than mine. I won't charge you any rent." 

A car rolled up and a group of young Manchurian officers took 
possession of the hotel. An officer who spoke English set up a table 
in the hall and then prepared to hear the complaints and claims of the 
guests. I made a list of my losses, and was told that General Yang Hu- 
chen, in charge of the troops that had run amok, would reimburse me. 
(I never received a cent of compensation ; three years later a man who 
had been on General Yang's staff told m6 that a sum of money had been 
sent me by a secretary, but the secretary had taken it for granted that all 
foreigners were rich and all Chinese poor.) 

The young Manchurian officer gave me a copy of a proclamation. 
It contained the famous eight demands made during the Sian Incident : 
the formation of a National Defence Government representing all parties 
and groups; resistance to the Japanese; the release of all political 
prisoners, including seven National Salvation leaders, all of them 
professional men; the granting of free speech, Press, assembly, and 
the right to organize ; the abolition of all extraordinary decrees against 
the patriotic anti-Japanese movements; and an alliance with the 
countries favouring China's independence. 

When I read this proclamation I forgot all about the looting. What- 
ever might come of this incident, I felt that China would never be the 
same again. 

At this point I was called to the telephone. A military friend had been 
telephoning for hours to tell me that this was not a Blue Shirt uprising. 
He was astounded to hear that the hotel had been looted. The city was 
in the hands of Marshal Chang and General Yang, he said, and the 
police station, Kuomintang headquarters, and Blue Shirt secret centres, 
with their radios and documents including a blacklist had been 
captured. Two imprisoned students had been found in one Blue Shirt 
centre, and one hundred airplanes which had been 'sent to fight the 
Red Army had been confiscated. Generalissimo Chiang and Governor 
Hsiao Li-tze were in the city as Marshal Chang's prisoners, and all the 
ammunition dumps which General Hu Chung-nan's army had been 
prepared to use against the Red Army had been captured. Marshal 

Chang had issued a proclamation legalizing these actions, and there 
was to be a mass meeting the next day. 

"Don't go out!" my friend warned. "Martial law has been declared 
and there are many dead and wounded in the streets." 

"Wait," I cried. "Why can't I get a military pass to help care for the 

My friend talked with the Manchurian officer in the hotel, after 
which I had a pass, had slung my first-aid kit over my shoulder, and was 
on my way to the Baptist Hospital to get surgical dressings. I spent the 
day moving around the city, seeing to the wounded and sending them to 

The next afternoon witnessed the first of many great mass meetings, 
and on the i6th Marshal Chang spoke at one called by the National 
Salvation Union. He reviewed the record of Japanese invasion, the 
Government's actions, and his many controversies with the Generalissimo 
over a policy which, he pointed out, "had been a violation of the will of 
the people". Declared Marshal Chang: 

"I wish to stand with all our armed comrades on the front line in the 
anti-Japanese war. The entire people must rise up and push forward 
in this struggle. If you are a labourer, give your labour ; if you have 
money, give that. Let us mingle our blood in the defence of our country." 

Sian was soon plastered with anti-Japanese posters. A specially 
trained political regiment of the Manchurian Army, along with repre- 
sentatives of the National Salvation and the Students' Unions, held 
small street meetings everywhere, and sent units to outlying villages to 
organize the arming and training of the peasants. 

Political prisoners were released, among them three hundred captive 
Red Army soldiers, fifty-four Red Army women and thirty-three Red 
Army children. Of the released soldiers, nearly a hundred were sick 
with fever or had infected wounds. Although I knew only first-aid, I 
attempted to take care of them, trying meanwhile to secure hospital 
space for the worst cases and medical care for all. They lay on straw 
pallets in bare, ice-cold barracks; and only a few boasted thin cotton 
coverings. It was a week before a doctor took over my work. At last 
General Yang Hu-chen sent me two thousand dollars to buy blankets 
and food for them. 

The Red Army soldiers were a revelation to me. They were from the 
Szechuen Red Army, all poor peasants between the ages of fifteen and? 
fifty. They reminded me of descriptions in books about the Peasants 9 
War in Germany. Their eyes were inflamed, many had no shoes at all, 
and their huge, peasant feet, scarred and bloody, had calluses an inch 
thick. When I first went among them, they stared at me suspiciously. 
To them I was a well-dressed "foreign devil". 

On the day following the uprising, I was filled with a strange sense of 

watching history in the making. An airplane took off for the north-west, 

D 2 105 

returned in the afternoon, slowly circled the city wall, and glided to the 
landing-field. It brought the first representatives of the Red Army 
and the Central Committee of the Communist Party. 

I met the Red Army representatives the day after their arrival in Sian. 
Nine years of civil war had passed, in which perhaps a million peasants, 
workers, and intellectuals had been killed, great wealth wasted, and war 
materials squandered. In some instances the whole family or even 
clan of a Red Army commander had been wiped out, the wives and 
sisters beheaded in the city streets. Yet when I talked with Chou En-lai, 
political director of the Red Army, and Yeh Chien-ying, its chief of 
staff, I felt that they had come not for vengeance, but to pave the way 
for a new era of unity. 

A National Salvation newspaper appeared on the second day of the 
uprising, and in the next two weeks was followed by two other dailies 
and a student publication. Students and actors formed the first mobile 
theatre to present plays to the troops and the people. To combat wild 
reports from the Nanking radio that Generalissimo Chiang had been 
killed, that the Red Army had occupied Sian, and that there was pillaging 
and rape, one of the newspaper editors began to make broadcasts in 
Chinese, while I undertook to make them in English. My broadcasts 
consisted of interviews with officials, military commanders, Red Army 
representatives, and National Salvation leaders and reports of develop- 
ments in the north-west. 

My talks annoyed the Nanking Government, and months later I 
heard from American newspaper correspondents that American 
consular officials in Nanking and Shanghai had even announced their 
determination to deport me. In an interview with the correspondent 
of the New Tork Times a Nanking spokesman declared that my talks 
"strongly advocated the united-front ideas and other projects conflicting 
with established Government policies". The spokesman said nothing 
about the American Y.M.C.A. secretary who was broadcasting wildly 
distorted reports from Nanking. I at least was telling the truth. 

Dangerous news affecting the future of China began to reach us. The 
first of these reports concerned Wang Ching-wei, former political head 
of the Chinese Government and its ruling party. Wang Ching-wei had 
been living in Germany since a young officer of the igth Route Army 
had tried to kill him. When Wang heard of the Sian Incident, he 
[rushed to Berlin for a secret conference with Hitler, then took an air- 
plane for China, obviously planning to take over the Government. 

Japanese military commanders had also held secret conferences in 
north China and had warned the Central Government to crush the 
attempt of the north-western armies to form a united front* General 
Ho Ying-ching, Minister of War, who for years had been an associate 
of Wang Ching-wei, began to mass troops at Tungkwan, the mountain 
pass leading to Shensi Province. Under the pretence that he was seeking 
1 06 

the release of Generalissimo Chiang, he threatened civil war. I wrote a 
speech warning against civil war, and before broadcasting it submitted 
it to Manchurian and Red Army representatives. In it I compared 
General Ho Ying-ching and his clique with Wu San-kwei, the Chinese 
General who betrayed the Ming Dynasty and allowed the Manchus to 
invade and subj|ct)China in the seventeenth century. 

Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang talked each day with Generalissimo 
Chiang, urging the end of civil war and advising resistance to the 
nation's, enemy. The Young Marshal had read the Generalissimo's 
diary and, I was told, was convinced that the Generalissimo really 
intended to resist the Japanese eventually. Soon Madame Chiang Kai- 
shek, Dr. T. V. Soong, her brother, and Tai Li, the sinister head of 
the Blue Shirts, arrived in Sian by plane to negotiate for the release of 
the Generalissimo and his staff. 

In the meantime the official Soviet Russian newspaper, Izvestia, by 
publishing an article charging that the Sian Incident was a Japanese 
plot, virtually warned the Chinese Communists to release Generalissimo 
Chiang. Perhaps the Soviet Government considered Generalissimo 
Chiang preferable to Wang Ching-wei, who had openly allied himself 
with Hitler and Japan. But at that time a wave of cynical resentment 
against the Soviet Union swept through Sian, 

The Generalissimo was secretly released oh Christmas Day. The 
people knew nothing of this, and the authorities in Sian were apparently 
afraid to let them know. On the preceding day they deliberately 
circulated rumours that General Fu Tso-yi, heroic defender of Suiyuan, 
was arriving by plane on Christmas Day to join the Anti-Japanese 
Alliance. At the rumoured hour the airdrome was black with people 
carrying banners to welcome him. A closed car drove up. Out stepped 
Marshal Chang. He was greeted with applause. Then Generalissimo 
Chiang and his party followed ; only two or three recognized them and 
then hardly bdieved their eyes. The whole party entered the plane 
and took off. General Fu did not come, and the people were left milling 
about in confusion. When the truth became known, there was consterna- 
tion. They realized that they had been drawn to the airdrome to give 
the Generalissimo the impression that they were there to honour him. 

Within an hour a group of young Manchurian officers and National 
Salvation leaders were going from room to room in the hotel, com- 
plaining bitterly of the ruse. They stopped and said to me : "We have 
been betrayed ! The Red Army induced the Young Marshal to release 
Chiang." One young officer contemptuously exclaimed: "The Young 
Marshal still has 'his head filled with stupid feudal ideas. Now he will 
never be free !" 

Though the Central Government had threatened civil war only if the 
Generalissimo was not released, it continued for weeks afterwards to 
concentrate troops at Tungkwan. Fighting broke out at the mountain 


pass, and railroad stations on the way to Sian were bombed by planes. 
Faced with this menace, the Anti-Japanese Alliance held firm and 
prepared to fight. The high Mapchurian officer who was left in charge 
by the Young Marshal carried on secret negotiations with General Ho 
Ying-ching, and other old officers began to undermine the Army from 
within. The young ones grew wild with fury, and demanded the re- 
lease of Marshal Chang and the realization of his eight-point programme 
of democracy and national resistance. The Red Army supported 
them in this, and at the height of the Incident two Red Army corps 
threw a cordon around Sian, prepared, if the Minister of War persisted, 
for civil war. l/l/ 

Early in January, James Bertram, a New Zealand! representing a 
London newspaper, arrived and began helping me broadcast, gather 
news, and address town and village mass meetings. When his voice 
was first heard over the air, propagandists in Nanking announced that a 
Russian Bolshevik was broadcasting from Sian. 

Foreigners who believe that Chinese are passive, unemotional 
creatures would have revised their beliefs if they had seen the Man- 
churian Army. All its pent-up resentment over the Government's 
passivity in the face of the Japanese burst like bomb-shells in Sian. Its 
soldiers felt that they had become exiles from their homeland and were 
being used merely as mercenaries against their own countrymen. I 
watched two big demonstrations, one purely military, one civilian- 
military. The equipment displayed in the military review was pathetic. 
During the civilian-military demonstration I stood on the ancient drum 
tower in the centre of the city and watched endless lines of marchers 
converging from every direction into a great throng that jammed the 
main boulevard. Long lines of peasants, carrying guns or spears, had 
come in from the country to participate. 

The demonstration was led by mounted Manchurian cavalrymen 
wearing fur caps, with fur tails flying from the top, looking much like 
pictures of Daniel Boone. Manchurian infantrymen, as tall and strong 
as Americans, followed. I heard for the first time the Manchurian's 
nostalgic Fight Back to Tour Native Home sung en masse by marching 
troops. Young officers led in the shouting of slogans ; they would whirl 
about, leap high into the air, and shout with wild fury : "Down with the 
Japanese dwarf devils !" "Down with the Fascists !" "Release Marshal 

All those people's organizations which had once been barred, the 
unions of workers and of students, women, clerks, children, business 
men, marched. A huge cartoon showed Wang Ching-Wfei shaking hands 
with Hitler and branded him the "Running dog of the Fascists !" The 
strains of the forbidden Volunteer Marching Song floated militantly over the 

Slowly Sian was crumbling. In Nanking, Marshal Chang allowed 

himself to be tried for capturing his Commander-in-Chief and was 
sentenced to prison. The sentence was immediately commuted, but 
Generalissimo Chiang took him prisoner and held him in his home at 
Fenghwa. Years have passed, but the Young Marshal still remains a 
prisoner. His fate has embittered all Manchurian patriots. His army 
was dispersed and only a few of those who fought in it are still alive. 

The Sian Incident may have ended in a local defeat, but it was never- 
theless a national victory. Slowly and with agonizing pain a United 
China was being born. Soon we heard that Government troops were to 
occupy Sian. On learning this news National Salvation leaders began 
to leave for many parts of the country, for they knew that the Kuo- 
mintang would never grant civil liberties to the people. 

Knowing that if I was caught in the city my fate would be the same 
as that of any Chinese patriot, I started out of the city on the morning 
of January 12. Sandbag barricades had been thrown up around' official 
buildings and at street intersections. Slogans of liberation still shouted 
from the walls, but the eight-point proclamation flapped sadly in the 
winter wind. 

I waited for four hours on the frozen road near the airdrome. At last a 
truck rolled up, a Red Army man sprang out and ordered a man out 
of the seat next to the chauffeur, and I clambered in. The truck was 
loaded with students, each with a roll <tf bedding at his feet. Without a 
word we drove away to the north towards ancient Hsienyang, past 
the Chou and Han tombs, towards Sanyuan and the Red Army. 


WE SPENT THE night in a low mud inn. In the morning it was bitter 
cold and the chauffeur had to build a small fire under the engine to 
thaw it out. We roared through the ancient city of Sanyuan, planning 
to have breakfast in the old, half-abandoned walled town of Tungli, 
the headquarters of the First Red Army Corps under temporary com- 
mander Tso Qiuan. 1 

At last we rolled up to the town, but the gate was too narrow for the 
truck and we had to climb out. A number of black-uniformed young 
soldiers began to gather, and to my surprise I saw among them my 
friend Ting Ling. She had been released from confinement in Nanking 
and had managed to make her way to the north-west and finally to the 
Red Army. 

Many soldiers Vho had been practising guerrilla tactics in the wheat- 
fields around the town came running to see the new arrivals from Sian. 
This was the first time that I had seen the Red Army en masse, and I 
looked around curiously. I was profoundly impressed by their faces. 

1 Killed in action by the Japanese, July 1942. 


Instead of the depressed, empty expression characteristic of so many 
soldiers, their faces had something of the vital awareness that had been 
so pronounced in the great Lu Hsun. 

When Ting Ling explained that I 'was a foreign friend, one of the 
soldiers turned and abruptly asked for the latest news from Spain ! 
They spoke the sharp, staccato dialect of Kiangsi Province, and I 
could hardly understand a word. Ting Ling explained to them that I 
was to speak at mass meetings, during which I would answer all questions. 
She tried to lead me away, but I would not allow this meeting to pass so 
casually. I stayed and began to ply the soldiers with questions. 

Most were in their early twenties and had been in the Red Army for 
four, five, or six years ; if they were twenty-five or thirty they had been 
Red Army soldiers for eight or more years and were called "old". 
There was not a man who had not been wounded, some as many as 
seven or eight times. Deprecatingly, one added: "But only twice 
seriously." Not one could recall how many battles they had fought ; 
they laughed a little at this and remarked that there were too many to 
remember. Only two or three had ever been married, but the families 
of all were in Kiangsi Province and no one knew what had happened 
to them after the Kuomintang occupation. They spoke of the Kuomin- 
tang armies as "Whites". One said he did not know whether his father 
and two sisters were alive, for his sisters had short hair and had worked 
in a village soviet. "The Whites kill girls with short hair," he explained. 

They waited for my questions, curious to hear what a foreigner was 
interested in. I told them I had long heard of their Red Army Marching 
Song and would like to hear it sung. They laughed a little, then one of 
them climbed into the truck, raised his arms, and counted ee~ehr-san 9 
and on the third beat the men's voices rose in a song that stirred the 
blood with its revolutionary fervour. 

The spell of ancient Chinese history was upon me, and after the soldiers 
had finished singing, I wandered, accompanied by my Peiping student 
interpreter and Ting Ling, through the magnificent Pompeii-like ruins 
of what had once been a centre of great luxury. Carved stone monu- 
ments still stood before beautiful doorways leading into courtyards 
' surrounded by empty apartments. Cobwebs hung from worm-eaten 
rafters and the decayed framework of filigreed windows. On the stone 
floors of these halls, now bitterly cold, the soldiers had arranged long, 
continuous pallets of wheat straw. These were their quarters. 
. , One corner of the town was inhabited by peasants and small traders 
who lived in earthen huts. Near an old open-air theatre* topped by a 
gorgeous, upcurving, gargoyled roof of coloured tiles, Stood a low hovel 
made of boards and rusty gasoline tins. Next to it an old man sold 

At ten o'clock, when the Army had its first meal of the day, Com- 
mander Tso Chuan and some of his staff found us squatting with a 

group of soldiers around a tin pan of boiled cabbage, our rice-bowls 
filled with steaming millet. The polished, diplomatic commander 
was shocked, for he still followed the time-honoured Chinese custom 
of welcoming guests with a banquet. We rose at once and followed 
him to an open stone terrace on which stood a long table prepared for a 
banquet, and soon hot dishes began to arrive. I criticized banquets 
of this kind as a relic of feudalism. They smiled, perhaps thinking my 
protests the conventional politeness of a guest, but in the months that 
followed I made my conviction quite clear. 

Tso Ghuan was a suave but reticent intellectual, and his political 
director, a landlord's son who spoke perfect English, did most of the 
talking. This Red Army Corps had been stationed along the Great Wall 
when the Sian Incident occurred, but when civil war seemed imminent 
it had moved to this region. Many landlords had fled, first trying to 
create a panic by spreading rumours that bandits were coming. The 
peasants had no place to go and, in any event, did not heed their land- 
lords. Despite the suppression of patriotic organizations and the total 
censorship of the Press, students and other intellectuals had managed 
for years to set ideas circulating among the people. The peasants had 
therefore awaited the Red Army with interest particularly after they 
were told that it might confiscate and distribute land. 

Instead of confiscating land, the Red Army sent political workers into 
the villages and urged the people to form anti-Japanese associations of 
peasants, workers, merchants, students, women, arid children. Since 
the inhabitants knew these were forbidden by the Government, they 
cautiously asked how long the Red Army would stay in their region. 
So organizational work was going slowly. 

In the late afternoon Ting Ling and I spoke before two mass meetings, 
one of soldiers, and one of civilians from the town and near-by villages. 
This second meeting, held in a school building, resembled a country 
fair. Women had brought their babies and small children, who cried 
and whimpered, and since the place was packed, crowds of men gathered 
about the open windows and kept shouting: "We can't hear!" 

The man who had formerly been the local magistrate presided at this 
meeting. He seemed an intelligent and patriotic man, but much given 
to the traditional and flowery phrases of outworn officialdom. In a fine 
flow of oratory he spoke of my wisdom, my travels, the countless books I 
had' written, and the vast sums of money I had been paid. Despite all 
this, he said, I had come through snow and sleet, crossed rivers and 
mountains, to tell the Chinese people about the Japanese devils. 

The people likfcd eloquence, but remained realists : one always praised 
guests, then foi^got all about it. After the meeting many of, them gathered 
to talk* The men tended to do all the talking while the women hovered 
shyly in the background. Finally we got rid of the men and, accompanied 
by a crowd of women and girls, went to our room in headquarters. 


Sitting on the beds, chairs, and chests and squatting on the floor, the 
women began to ask me all kinds of questions about myself. They 
wanted in particular to know why I wasn't married ; this gave Ting Ling 
an opportunity to explain the emancipation of women, and to point out 
to them that they must organize a Woman's National Salvation Associa- 
tion and share the same rights and responsibilities as men in the fight 
against the Japanese. 

The women were tremendously interested, and only when darkness 
began to fall did they leave. We bowed them out to the street gate and 
watched them walk away, holding hands and talking excitedly. 

A few days later Ting Ling and I walked across country to a village 
where Ho Lung, commander of the Second Red Army Corps, had his 
headquarters. With us were a number of men belonging to a civilian 
delegation from the new Anti-Japanese Associations. Two were teachers, 
one a middle-aged, intellectual-looking individual who talked volubly. 
Three were students, two were merchants, one a tinsmith from Sanyuan, 
and the others peasants. They carried silk banners of welcome which 
were to be presented to the various Red Army corps. 

"Students have long known the Red Army's programme and policy," 
the talkative teacher remarked, "and they have managed to pass their 
information along to the people. In fact, if the Government thinks 
one thing, the people always think the opposite. Many of my students 
have challenged their parents and gone to Yenan to join Kang Da 
(Resistance University). I myself have no prejudices against the Com- 

A small merchant, walking directly behind us, interrupted to add 
that even most of the merchants were anti-Japanese and would soon 
return. He looked up at the teacher, laughed, and added: "Do you 
remember the night the Chamber of Commerce met? All the merchants 
had boarded up their shops and were ready to run away. Then two 
officers with red stars on their caps walked in and asked to speak. That 
meeting lasted until midnight. The next day people opened their shops 
and only a foolish few ran away. We merchants are tired of civil war. 
We sent a telegram telling the Generalissimo that if we had peace among 
ourselves we could drive out the Japanese." 

The students were so eager and enthusiastic that once the teacher 
remarked to one of them : 

"The revolution will be fought through only by the masses. You 
students are only the voice of the revolution, though some of you think 
you are the whole show!" 

"Old people grow conservative !" a student chided. * * 

Talking in this way, we reached Ho Lung's village headquarters. As 
we approached, a tall man with a black moustache and wearing a tall 
fur hat that accentuated his height came out of the building and waved. 
Ting Ling shouted : "Comrade Ho Lung, we have come I" 

"Shades of the Taiping rebels !" I exclaimed to myself, for Ho Lung 
looked not like a Chinese, but like some old print of *a moustachioed 
folk-tale Mongol or Central Asiatic. He was a man in his middle forties, 
but he walked with the lithe grace of a panther. As he drew near I saw 
that his dress seemed so strange and vari-coloured because it was made 
up of the remnants of many uniforms. His jacket was of faded grey and 
his trousers black, the latter fitting so tightly that he appeared to be 
made up for some medieval drama. Above his blue cloth Chinese shoes 
white socks showed, and from his ankle to the knee was a splash of green 
puttees wrapped tightly in a long leaf-like pattern. Something 
seemed missing fiom his uniform oh yes, a blazing sash and a curved 
scimitar ! 

This was Ho Lung of fame and fable. A poor peasant of central 
China, he had been described as a local militarist, and even as a bandit. 
During the national revolution of 1 925-7 his troops had been incorporated 
into the nationalist army and he had been made a regimental com- 
mander. He liked horses and armies, but titles interested him little; 
so he recruited some fifteen thousand men into his troop despite the fact 
that it was still called a "regiment". After the split in the nationalist 
forces, he had become commander of the powerful Second Red Army. 
This ever-increasing force held large areas to the north and west of 
Hankow and had for years fought death to a standstill. He was illiterate 
and his army had not been so well trained politically as other Red armies. 
Hsiao Keh, an intellectual, now acted as his political director, and 
extensive political education was provided; but Hsiao Keh had been 
with him only three years. 

For years Ho Lung had tried to join the Communist Party. Finally, 
after he had applied ten different times, he had been accepted. He 
could now read a little, but could not write. Of fighting, however, he 
knew enough, and his troops reflected his dare-devil courage and self- 
assurance. Although now a Communist, he remained a member of one 
of the ancient peasant "Big Brother" secret societies, and bore its highest 
title the "Double-headed Dragon". The title fitted him well. 

One tale was told of a launch which he captured from one of the 
Kuomintang armies in the lake regions north-west of Hankow. He had 
called this his "navy" and had scooted over the lakes, directing guerrilla 
warfare. Men brightened up when they heard that Ho Lung was coming, 
for then they knew they would hear fine stories related with vigour 
and dash. An American doctor, Ma Hai-teh, who went to the Red 
Army when Edgar Snow visited the north-west, later told me many 
tales of Ho Lung*in battle. "But he has a gentle, tender heart," Dr. Ma 
would insist, and tell a story of how Ho Lung walked into a medical 
station carrying a sick or wounded boy. 

All the members of Ho Lung's immediate family had been killed in 
the revolution. Perhaps the most amazing was his sister, a woman of 


forty-nine who bad commanded a Red Army regiment and bad fallen 
in battle. His last brother had died in a Shanghai prison. His wife, a 
school-teacher, had been imprisoned at about the same time ; nothing 
could bend or break her, and while in prison she had started literacy 
classes for poor imprisoned women. 

Hsiao Keh, political director of Ho Lung's army corps, was also unlike 
any other Chinese I had ever seen. He was very thin and the movements 
of both his body and his mind were like lightning. All he needed to 
resemble some old Persian painting was a horse under him and a spear 
in his hand. I never saw Hsiao Keh in repose. 

The civilian delegation from Sanyuan listened with delight to Ho 
Lung's many talcs. He spoke with energy and many gestures, keeping 
the room in an uproar, but always remembering that he was a good 
Communist and ending with some political moral : 

"Just think ! If the Government had united with us and fought the 
Japanese when they first invaded Manchuria, it would now have two 
million more trained men. We need unity. There is no difficulty we 
cannot conquer!" 

One* morning, as he bent over his wash-basin making a great splash, I 
remarked on the courage of his imprisoned wife. He paused, then began 
splashing furiously. I glanced about and saw that everyone was grinning. 
The Peiping student said in a low voice : "He has another wife now in 
Ycnan and they have a child. But his Shanghai wife has been released 
and is coming here." 

"Just which wife is that?" one of the men asked innocently. 

"Shut up, tu-fei (bandit)," Ho Lung growled. 

A furious bantering began, with several men mentioning the names of 
women and others counting them on their fingers. Ho Lung wiped his 
face, turned to me, and in a solemn, gentle voice urged : 

"Pay no attention to them! All that was before I adopted the 
new life." 

A howl of derision rose on all sides. 

Ho Lung's army had but recently come out of the "grass lands" 
of Sikong and joined the main body of 'the Red Army from Kiangsi. 
Only a few had so far received new padded winter uniforms. The others 
were under-nourished and clad in rags. When I went among them, I 
heard hollow coughing on all sides, for many were suffering from lung 
ailments. Their eyes were inflamed, but I could not tell whether it 
was trachoma or semi-starvation. 

"As soon as we have our new winter uniforms, are rested, and have 
eaten, we shall be all well," Ho Lung once remarked 'sadly. I doubted 
this. Tuberculosis claimed too many victims in the Red Army. 

It may have been their rags and illnesses that gave me the impression, 
but this Red Army Corps seemed very different from the Kiangsi men. 
When Ting Ling and I spoke at their meetings they seemed to have 
"4 -. 

difficulty in understanding, and a political worker often halted to ask 
them whether they understood. He would repeat the idea, slowly. 
They listened hungrily. When they sang for us, their songs seemed 
strange and heavy, burdened with sorrow. Then I would think : "They 
are like men only recently risen from slavery." 

Before I left the corps, Ho Lung asked me about my observations 
and suggestions. But they were already aware of all the deficiencies I 
could mention. The men needed warm clothing, good food, rest, and 
medical care. We discussed delousing, for typhus is epidemic in the north- 
west. But delousing stations were unknown and there was neither heat 
nor change of clothing. But many volunteers were entering the Army, 
and I proposed that a physical .examination be given to keep out those 
who were syphilitic, for syphilis is also a scourge in the north-west. 
But there was no doctor in the Army able to identify syphilis except in its 
advanced stages. For its treatment they had nothing. 

Chu Teh was Commander-in-Chief and chairman of the Revolution- 
ary Military Council, but the commander of the Front Red Armies 
was the puritanical Peng Tch-hwci. Peng was Chu Teh's shadow and, 
some said, his military brains. This austere leader was of lowly origin, 
but had received a fairly good education. During the Northern Expedi- 
tion he had been a Kuomintang regimental commander in the nationalist 
army, but when the counter-revolution began he had allied his regiment 
with the forces of Mao Tze-tung and Chu Teh. The latter had been 
beleaguered on Chingkanshan Mountain in western Kiangsi while 
organizing the first Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. 

Many of the stories circulated in the Chinese revolutionary movement, 
as everywhere in China, were a mixture of rumour and fact, and one 
was rarely able to tell which was which. One story was that when Peng 
Teh-hwei had first joined the Red Army, his wife publicly denounced 
him in order to save her life. The families of Red Army commanders 
were often killed, but despite this justification, Peng Teh-hwei had re- 
garded his wife's action as unpardonable. After that, ho woman had 
entered his life. Men said he was married to the revolution. However, 
he granted women respect and equality with men and demanded that 
his troops accept this principle as a basic aim of their struggle. 

He lived the bitter life of the soldiers, ate their food, refused to give 
banquets, and rejected all comforts which they could not share. From 
many men I heard that his troops feared him, for he would tolerate none 
of the ma-ma-hu-hu (manana or "do it tomorrow") habits that are character- 
istic of most pre-imdustrial civilizations. But they also respected and loved 
him, knowing thafhe imposed upon himself the same discipline and that 
he was a man of iron justice. 

Ting Ling and I rode to a large village near the snow-covered mountain, 
Pei Wutienshan, where Peng had his headquarters. A small child was 

standing by his side, looking up, and he was listening as if deeply interested 
in its prattle. 

He was of medium height, built like a stocky peasant, and perhaps 
in his middle thirties. He was ugly, but as he smiled in welcome his face 
was pleasant. His eyes were level and penetrating, his voice gruff. 

When we arrived, he was ill. The Long March had left him with 
gastric ulcers and in addition he had been kicked by a horse shortly 
before our arrival. But no one dared refer to his illness in his presence. 
Since all of them were anxious, they pushed me forward and I, innocent 
and unabashed, talked to him about his health. I also suffered from 
gastric ulcers and carried powders, milk, and soda crackers. I shared 
these with him, and because I was a guest he had to listen to my 

Because of his illness he spent mucl> time in his headquarters, sitting 
before a brazier of glowing charcoal, and we often found him reading 
or working there. He always carried booklets or paper-bound books 
in his pocket. I never, incidentally, saw any literary trash in the Army 
or in its headquarters at Yenan. These men took the business of work- 
ing for a new world as a matter of life and death. The political and 
military material which they read became reference- and text-books 
for the Political Department of the Army, whose business it was to 
impart the contents to the troops. 

My many talks with Peng Teh-hwei and his staff took place near that 
charcoal brazier in his room. In the course of one interview Peng 
Teh-hwei said : 

"The Kuomintang has spread all kinds of falsehoods about us. By 
their control of the Press and the denial of civil rights to the people, 
they have contaminated the public mind and prevented us from placing 
facts before the country. They have said that we practised free love, 
that we capture boys and maidens and use them for immoral purposes, 
that we have burned and robbed and slaughtered the peasants ! They 
said we oppose Christians on the grounds of their faith. 

"Now, I ask you : do you think we could have existed all these years 
if these things were true? It was the masses that gave us our strength. 
\Ve represented their interests, drew all our man-power from them. 
The people are honest and upright and they could have exterminated 
us if we oppressed them. 

"We are new in this region; some of u&,have been here less than two 
weeks, and yet I invite you to go wherever you will and ask the people 
about us. You will find that our soldiers live in the homes of the people 
like sons of the family. Our fighters are all from the tnasses and realize 
that they are the protectors and guides of the people. In the short 
time we have been here, twelve hundred young peasants and workers, 
and many^ students, have joined our Army. There are so many that 
we cannot 'get enough uniforms or guns for them. They know that our 

life is bitter and that their spending money will be only a dollar and a 
half a month if we have the money." 

His hoarse voice sank low and he watched me with level eyes. "You 
spoke at a peasant mass meeting yesterday," he said, "and you have 
been in the homes of the people. Tell me if you have heard complaints 
from one man, woman, or girl." 

I said that I had heard only praise. 

He stared into the charcoal brazier for some time, then continued : 
"Our peasants are unbelievably poor. But they are intelligent and their 
illiteracy is- not their fault. Nor ours. They can be educated to realize 
that our main enemy is Japanese imperialism. Of course they do not 
want to bear the many heavy taxes and exorbitant rents, but they are 
still more unwilling to be slaves of the Japanese. Their basic needs 
must be satisfied so they will not have to drudge and worry all the time 
about food ; then they can take part in the anti-Japanese movement. 

"Generalissimo Chiang said that so long as there is hope for peace 
with the Japanese, he would work for peace. We do not hold that 
attitude towards the Japanese, but we hold it towards the Government 
because the Kuomintang armies are Chinese. If the whole country 
is allowed to participate in the anti-Japanese movement and if all the 
people are imbued with knowledge and patriotism, even the poorest 
will give their labour for they have nothing else to give and the rich 
will give money to light the enemy." 

Our discussions were always of this sober nature. Of humour Peng had 
little, and I never once heard him speak lightly. He might listen to 
light or aimless conversations, but, as his men said, he was "married to 
the revolution". 

One evening I sat with him and his staff, our conversation roaming 
aimlessly. One man kept trying to tune in on the Nanking broadcast, 
but, as usual, the radio only shrieked and sputtered. Ting Ling and Jen 
Pei-hsi, the political director, were discussing what they called "revolu- 
tionary romanticism", and from their conversation I learned that this 
term meant sexual promiscuity! They also jokingly called it "un- 
disciplined guerrilla warfare". Ting Ling had given an account of 
Kollontay's book Three Generations, and Jen had quoted Lenin's famous 
opposition to the idea that sexual relations were no more important 
than a glass of water. 

Peng listened in silence, one foot on the charcoal brazier, the other 
crossed over his knee. He kept trying to pull together a huge hole in the 
heel of his sock. 

Jen Pei-hsi glartced at me and then announced : "Comrade Peng 
Teh-hwei does not believe in marriage. That is why he has gastric 
Peng grunted : "A lot of married people have gastric ulcers. You 

would make a bum doctor!" 


He was about to add something else when the radio operator in the 
corner interrupted with a whoop of joy : 

"Listen! It's Nanking! It's about us !" 

In China the news broadcasters are women and their voices are high- 
pitched. Over the air came such a voice, saying: "The Red bandits 
are still occupying Sanyuan hsien (district). They are terrorizing the 
region, looting homes, murdering the peasants, raping women and girls. 
Thousands of people have fled." 

I cried out in anger and disgust. Jen Pei-hsi laughed, imitated my 
exclamation, and then remarked : "They forgot to add that we have also 
captured a foreign woman." 

"What can be done against such lies?" I asked. 

It was Peng Teh-hwei's harsh voice that replied. "The only answer is 
our final victory !" he said. 

Someone turned off the radio and there was a silence so acute that I 
glanced about the room curiously. The men all sat staring before them. 
Peng was looking deep into the charcoal brazier, and at the table Ting 
Ling leaned forward resting on her arms. The two candles in the room 
cast a faint glow on the rafters above and glinted on the legs of the 
table. The stillness was heavy, burdensome. 


AN YE NAN, WHICH the Communists had just occupied as their main 
base and training centre, the American doctor who had adopted the 
Mohammedan name of Ma Hai-teh took me to see Chu Teh, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Red Army since its earliest days. 

"The fighters love him," said Dr. Ma. "He is their father and mother.' 1 
A short, strong figure in blue padded uniform rose from a table on 
which a candle burned, and I saw the Chu Teh to whom I had been 
referring in my writings for many years. Indeed, he looked like the father 
of the Red Army. He was well beyond fifty and his face was kind and 
lined with wrinkles. His generous mouth was now spread in a broad 
grin of welcome and he stretched out both hands to me, I flung my arms 
around his neck and kissed him on both cheeks. Dr. Ma also threw his 
arms around Chu Teh and kissed him resoundingly, then stood back to 
observe his handiwork. 

We all laughed and I said to Chu Teh : "Let me tke a look at you. 
For years I've heard you called a bandit whose head was worth twenty- 
five thousand dollars. And you are the man who has been declared dead 
a dozen times." 

I walked around and around the stocky figure while Dr. Ma reached 

out and raja his hand over General Chu's shaved head, meanwhile 
uttering a long-drawn-out "Hum-m-m-m-m!" Our victim kept a sharp 

After my personal inspection I turned to Ghu Teh's work-table, piled 
with military and political books, pads and pencils, and a heap of note- 
paper covered with scrawled notes. 

"Those are the notes for a course on military science which I am 
giving in Kong Da (Resistance University)," Ghu explained. 

I turned and saw that one entire wall of the room, from rafters to the 
earthen floor bclow^ was covered with a military map ringed with small 
red circles. Musing aloud, I said: "There are bandits and bandits. 
Those I knew in the cities were rather different. They wpre foreign 
business suits, had polished desks, belonged to exclusive clubs, and read 
detective novels." 

"A class distinction," laughed Chu Teh. 

"Also," I added, "you are the liveliest corpse I have ever seen! I 
have brought you clippings from the Shanghai Press announcing some 
of your deaths." 

I drew the clippings from my pocket, and he laughed heartily at one 
which was alleged to be a photograph of him. Then we fell to talking 
about my plans and about his own work. 

The chief task of the Communists, he said, was to rc-cducate the Red 
Army in the principles of the united front. Commanders were being 
called to Yenan by the hundreds. Since most of them were workers 
and peasants, it was not easy for them to learn the concepts of class 

Large numbers of students were also pouring into Yenan to study; 
there were so many of them and their problems were so different from 
those of the Army that a new "North-western Academy" (Shanpei) 
was being organized. All kinds of students were coming, including spies 
from the Blue Shirts and other political cliques. A group often had just 
been arrested for forming a "Free Love Club". The Trotskyites had sent 
three or four to intrigue against the united front, calling it a betrayal 
of the revolution. They had been examined and their ideas had appeared 
chaotic, without plan or purpose. 

One of the chief problems, Chu Teh continued, was lack of teaching 
material foreign military and political books, magazines, and news- 
papers. He himself needed German, Russian, and American military 
books, because the war with Japan, he knew, would be entirely different 
from civil war. This was the origin of one of my chief occupations in 
Yenan in the months that followed the building up of the new Lu 
Hsiin Library. 

"Can you ride?" Chu Teh asked me that night, and when I said I 
could, we had a discussion about the beauty and character of horses 
which ended in his offering me a pony, one of twelve captured by Ho 


Lung's army from a rich landlord in Yunnan Province during the Long 
March. During the following week the General had a wooden Mongolian 
saddle padded for me with black and red cloth. The pony, which I 
called Yunnan, was a small edition of an Arabian steed, a beautiful 
stallion both wild and troublesome. His wildness got me into fights with 
a whole succession of muleteers. 

Chu Teh asked me what I wished to write about. I was unsure at 
first, but as we talked that night and in the weeks that followed I gradually 
conceived the idea of writing his biography. I got to work on it, but it 
was an undertaking often interrupted by other work or by his visits to 
the front. 

With my secretary interpreter, a former actress from Shanghai, I 
began to sound Chu Teh's earliest childhood memories. He had lived 
through more than fifty years of turbulent Chinese history and in his 
youth had been one of the earliest Kuomintang revolutionaries, who had 
helped overthrow the Manchu Dynasty. The revolution had degenerated 
into militarism and for a number of years he had been a militarist in 
Szechuen and Yunnan Provinces and, as was the custom, had smoked 
opium and taken concubines. 

The ideas of the Chinese intellectual renaissance began to penetrate 
into these far south-western provinces shortly before the end of the 
first World War. Chu Teh began to read, and joined a discussion club 
of intellectuals. So completely did the awakening of China influence him 
that, even though past forty, he gave up his old life, including opium and 
concubines, and headed for the coastal cities in search of the Com- 
munist leaders. They avoided him, and he decided to go to Europe to 

In Berlin he met the first small group of Chinese Communists, of whom 
Chou En-lai, son of a northern Mandarin family, was a member. He 
was permitted to join this group, and the one-time militarist became a 
humble typesetter for the first Chinese newspaper published in Germany. 
At the same time he studied under military specialists. 

At the end of three years, in 1924, he returned to China to participate 
in the national revolution. When the split in nationalist ranks came, he 
was Chief of Police and director of a military training-school in Nan- 
chang on the Yangtze. With General Yeh Ting and Ho Lung and their 
Kuomintang divisions, he struck back at the counter-revolution, which 
had already slaughtered thousands of peasants. 

He commanded a column of revolting Kuomintang troops that fought 
its way southwards hoping to re-establish Canton as a revolutionary base. 
They were defeated near Swatow, but Chou Teh collected the survivors 
and led them into western Kiangsi, where, on the rolling, wooded 
mountain of Chingkanshan, they united with another stream of revolu- 
tionary troops and revolting peasants led by Mao Tze-tung. Here was 
founded the first Red Army, the first military-political training-school, 

and the first arsenal. For years this Army was called the "Chu-Mao" 
Army. Mao Tze-tung had become the political leader, while Chu Teh 
had always been the supreme military commander. 

As Chu Teh told me of his life, he drew rough sketches of the marches 
and battles of the Red Army. It was against this army that the Nanking 
Government, purged of its revolutionaries, waged five powerful military 
campaigns. Chu Teh had also collected a mass of historical documents 
and maps and had added to them through the years even on the twelve 
thousand miles of the Long March. We often discussed the necessity of 
preserving and using historical documents, and soon Chu organized the 
first research committee in Yenan to work on the history of the Chinese 

I had taken down the record of his life up to the year 1934, when, on 
July 7, 1937, the Japanese struck at Lukuochiao (Marco Polo Bridge) 
and the Sino-Japanese War began. Chu Teh started for the front and I 
was left with another unfinished book. I asked Mao Tze-tung which he 
thought more important for me to do remain in Yenan and write Chu 
Teh's biography, or go to the front and write of the war. 

Mao Tze-tung said: "This war is more important than past 

So I stored my notebooks and prepared to go to the front. 

The Army gave me permission to go, but while out riding one day my 
horse fell and I sustained back injuries which laid me up. I had to lie 
indoors watching the summer rains, which fell in torrents, sweeping 
away fields, mountain-sides, and villages. 

On the same memorable night that I first arrived in Yenan and met 
General Chu Teh, I was able to call on Mao Tze-tung, because he 
worked by night and slept by day. Calling on "him at midnight, I pushed 
Sack a padded cotton drape across a door in a mountain cave, and step- 
ped into a dark cavern. Directly in the centre of this darkness stood a tall 
candle on a rough-hewn table. Its glow fell on piles of books and papers 
and touched the low earthen ceiling above. A man's figure was stand- 
ing with one hand on the table ; his face, turned towards the door, was in 
shadow. I saw a mass of dark clothing covered by a loose padded great- 
coat. The section of earthen floor on which he stood was raised, accen- 
tuating his height, and the gloom of the cave, broken only by the solitary 
candle, lent a sinister beauty to the scene. It was like some ancient 
painting almost obliterated by time. 

The tall, forbidding figure lumbered towards us and a high-pitched 
voice greeted us. Then two hands grasped mine ; they were as long and $ 
sensitive as a woman's. Without speaking we stared at each other. His 
dark, inscrutable face was long, the forehead broad and high, the mouth 
feminine. Whatever else he might be, he was an aesthete. I was in fact 
repelled by the feminine in him and by the gloom of the setting. An 


instinctive hostility sprang up inside me, and I became so occupied with 
trying to master it that I heard hardly a word of what followed. 

What I now remember of Mao Tze-tung was the following months of 
precious friendship; they both confirmed and contradicted his inscrut- 
ability. The sinister quality I had at first felt so strongly in him proved 
to be a spiritual isolation. As Chu Teh was loved, Mao Tze-tung was 
respected. The few who came to know him best had affection for him, 
but his spirit dwelt within itself, isolating him. 

Many tales had been told of him and, like General Chu Teh and many 
other Communist leaders, there had for years been a heavy price on his 
head. In him was none of the humility of Chu. Despite that feminine 
quality in him, he was as stubborn as a mule, and a steel rod of pride 
and determination ran through his nature. I had the impression that he 
; would wait and watch for years, but eventually have his way. 

Every other Communist leader might be compared with someone 
of another nationality or time, but not Mao Tze-tung. People said 
this was because he was purely Chinese and had never travelled or 
studied abroad. Neither had Peng Teh-hwei, Ho Lung, Lin Piao, nor 
other Red Army men, yet they all had their counterparts in other lands. 
Mao was known as the theoretician. But his theories were rooted 
in Chinese history and in experience on the battlefield. Most 
Chinese Communists think in terms of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, 
and some take pride in their ability to quote chapter and verse of 
these or lecture on them for three or four hours. Mao could do this too, 
but seldom attempted it. His lectures at Kang Da and Shanpei, or before 
mass meetings, were like his conversations, based on Chinese life and 
history. Hundreds of the students who poured into Yenan had been 
accustomed to drawing their mental nourishment only from the Soviet 
Union or from a few writers of Germany or other countries. Mao, how- 
ever, spoke to them of their own country and people, their native history 
and literature. He quoted from such novels as Dream of the Red Chamber 
or All Men Are Brothers. He knew the old poets and was a poet in his own 
right. His poetry had the quality of the old masters, but through it ran a 
clear stream of social and personal speculation. 

His many books and pamphlets place him among the great revolu- 
tionary pamphleteers of all times. His Protracted Warfare, The New Stage 
in the War, and New Democracy have become landmarks in Chinese 
revolutionary thought, and in later years I found them in unheard-of 
places. Sometimes politicians, including violent anti-Communists, stole 
his military writings and presented them as their own. 

Mao often came to the "cave" where I lived with 'toy girl secretary, 
and the three of us would have a simple dinner and spend hours in con- 
versation. Since he had never been out of China, he asked a thousand 
questions. We spoke of India ; of literature ; and once he asked me if I 
had ever loved any man, and why, and what love meant to me. Some- 

times he quoted from old Chinese poet$ or recited some of his own 
poems. One of his poems was in memory of his first wife, who had been 
slain by the Kuomintang because she was his wife. 

His humour was often sardonic and grim, as if it sprang from deep 
caverns of spiritual seclusion. I had the impression that there was a door 
to his being that had never been opened to anyone. 

As a linguist he was as bad as myself. To supplement his Hunan 
dialect, he tried to learn Mandarin from my secretary and English from 
me. His efforts to learn English songs were a dismal failure, for his voice 
was a monotone. Pride prevented him from trying to dance. He had no 
rhythm in his being. 

Once during a conference of high military commanders in Yenan I 
tried to teach a number of them how to dance. Their reactions were 
revealing. Chu Teh, who wished to learn everything on earth and never 
let pride prevent his trying, joined me in opening the demonstration. 
Chou En-lai followed, but he was like a man working out a problem in 
mathematics. Peng Teh-hwei was willing to watch, but would not 
move a leg ; he was married to the revolution. Ho Lung, who was the 
very embodiment of rhythm, could hardly contain himself until he was 
cavorting across the floor, which was made of wobbly bricks. I acquired 
a very bad reputation among the women of Yenan, who thought I was 
corrupting the Army ; so bad did it become that I once refused to give 
Ghu Teh another dancing lesson. He rebuked me, saying ; "I've fought 
feudalism all my life and I don't intend to stop now !" So I got up and, 
in the name of democracy, gave him another lesson. 

But my entire time was not spent teaching tired Communists to dance. 
In fact, I had a few dozen occupations I have always been a kind of 
tinker, attempting many things, proficient in few. In Yenan I continued 
to work on General Chu's biography; wrote articles and reports; took 
part in health activities; planted a flower and vegetable garden with 
imported seeds sent me by Edgar Snow and his wife ; built up the foreign- 
language section of the Lu Hsiin Library; distributed incoming perio- 
dicals to the various army corps and to educational institutions and 
leaders in Yenan; wrote to foreign correspondents in the port cities, 
urging them to visit Yenan and the Red Army ; and chased rats. 

My anti-rat campaign aroused only mild interest. People regarded 
rats as an inevitable part of nature. Yet plague is endemic in the north- 
west and periodic epidemics crept down from Mongolia, with the rat- 
flea acting as carrier. Men agreed with me, but had little time save for 
military and political problems. The Japanese were, after all, more 
dangerous than tfce plague. Only years later did I read Hans Zinsser's 
Rats, Lice and History 1 1 was entranced by the book, and especially about 
the way he sprang to the defence of the lowly louse. 

Perhaps I was so fanatical in my anti-rat campaign because, upon my 
arrival in Yenan, I lived for a time in a stone house inhabited by many 


families of rats. Nightly they fought underneath my Vang and on the 
rafters above. I kept a candle burning, but they grew accustomed to the 
light. I would awaken to see floor, table, and chairs shining with grey 
fur. I bought up all the rat-traps in Sian and wrote Edgar Snow and his 
wife to ship all they could from Peiping. I distributed them free in 
Yenan, but soon I found that they were being sold in the market ! 

Another activity engaged me : the Consul for the Spanish Republican 
Government in Shanghai kept me supplied with bundles of anti-Fascist 
posters which he had received from Madrid. These I distributed to the 
various Red Army corps at the front and at Yenan, so that the North- 
west was perhaps the only region in China that echoed with the struggle 
of the Spanish Republic. In May of that year the entire region had 
demonstrations and meetings in support of Spain's struggle against 

Another of the unforgettable men I met at this time was Chou En-lai, 
vice-chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council and chief repre- 
sentative of the Communist Party and the Red Army in the united front 
negotiations with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. He was above medium 
height, with a very handsome, unusually intelligent face and especially 
fine eyes. He sprang from the patrician class and had been educated in 
Nankai University in north China, in France, in Germany, and, for a 
short time, in the Soviet Union. He stood very straight, looked men 
directly in the eye, and always spoke with disarming frankness to 
foreigners and the highest Government officials as well as to members of 
his party. His knowledge and vision were all-embracing and his judg- 
ment free from sectarianism. If any worth-while measure such as the 
introduction of modern medical practice was necessary, it was Chou En- 
' lai who signed the order and forced the measure through. For years 
afterwards he represented his party and army in the Central Govern- 
ment, winning the admiration and respect of such good foreign friends 
of China as General Joseph Stilwell, Major (later Colonel) Frank Dorn, 
and Sir Archibald Clark-Kerr, the British Ambassador. 

It was said that Generalissimo and Madame Chiang respected Chou 
En-lai deeply, but from rumours which some Kuomintang members set 
adrift, it seemed the ruling group hoped to win him over from his party. 
They never succeeded, for he cared not at all for personal comfort, 
wealth, or power. The only other international figure with whom I 
could compare him was Jawaharlal Nehru, who possessed a similar com- 
bination of education, vision, and statesmanship. But Chou's con- 
victions, like those of Nehru, relegated him to an inferior position in the 
affairs of his country. In his personal as in his public life he was modern 
and civilized. A lifelong love had bound him to Teng Ying-chou, one of 
the best-educated, most thoughtful and capable of Chinese women 

In early April, during one of his trips to Yenan from Nanking, Chou 

talked with me about the negotiations for the united front. The basic 
problems of internal peace had been dealt with and civil war had ceased 
at last. But many problems still existed. In February the Red Army and 
the Communist Party had sent a lengthy official telegram to the Third 
Plenary Session of the Kuomintang, stating their conditions for the 
united front, and, without waiting for an agreement, began putting them 
into effect. This telegram offered to rename the Red Army and place it 
under command of the Central Military Council provided it was given 
the same treatment, equipment, and supplies as other armies and was 
permitted to retain its own political educational system. It demanded 
the introduction of democracy and civil rights throughout the country, 
the release of all political prisoners other than enemy agents, and the 
"liberation" of patriotic anti-Japanese organizations. It announced that 
in the interests of national unity the Communists had ceased confiscating 
land and were substituting the democratic system for the Soviets. 

Some of these demands were rejected by the Kuomintang. The most 
important question still unsettled, Chou En-lai said, was the introduction 
of democracy. Many leaders in Nanking and in the provinces realized 
that the granting of democratic rights to the people would end their own 
dictatorial privileges. One of the chief opponents of democracy and the 
united front was the Minister of War, General Ho Ying-ching. As late 
as the first week of April he ordered local national armies to attack the 
Red Army, and his orders to southern generals to fight the Red guerrillas 
in Kiangsi Province continued until Nanking, the capital, fell to the 
Japanese nearly a year later. 

I aked Chou En-lai if Generalissimo Chiang was not responsible for 
all orders issued by the Minister of War. But the Communists were bend- 
ing every effort to win Generalissimo Chiang to the united front, and the 
most any of them would admit was that the powerful cliques which 
surrounded the Generalissimo and treated him like a king might be 
using him for their own purposes. 

I myself believed that if the Generalissimo had not approved of the 
actions of his Minister of War, he could have removed him. 

Shortly after this talk with Ghou En-lai, the first official delegation of 
military and political leaders from Nanking arrived in the north-west to 
review the Red Army and the administration in Ycnan. From what I 
observed, not one of them could compare with the Communists in know- 
ledge, capacity, culture, or vision. One leader of the delegation was a 
degenerate follower of Wang Ching-wei, who brought his own cook 
and physician with him. He suffered from syphilis in an advanced stage, 
and one night thfe leading doctors in Yenan were called out to help 
attend him. 

Some of the other members of the delegation were of higher quality. 
One was an old Kuomintang leader who had long advocated peace and 
a united front. Some of his efforts to heal class wounds of the past were 


symbolic ; these often amused foreigners, but they impressed the Chinese. 
Along with old Lin Pei-chu, a Communist leader and one of the earliest 
followers of Sun Yat-sen, the Kuomintang venerable once swept the 
grave of Hwang Ti, the first legendary leader of the Chinese race. This 
symbolized racial unity rising to meet national and racial danger. 

After the visit of the delegation to Yenan, Mao Tze-tung made a day- 
long report to Communist Party members on the progress of the united 
front and on the tasks of Communists. The concluding words of this 
report, according to my diary notes, were : 

Peace and democracy are the two conditions for the establishment 
of armed resistance to Japan. Our tasks are many, but the struggle for 
democracy is the main one at this stage. . . . 

Democracy is like rice, which we now get from Hankow it takes 
time and costs money, and there are people who try to intercept it. 
Democracy is all the more difficult because it is intangible. If we 
underestimate its importance and if we slacken our efforts to secure it, 
armed resistance on a nation-wide scale, victory over Japan, and the 
recovery of our lost territory will be impossible. 


AoROUPOFUsin Yenan, including Li Teh, the German, were dis- 
cussing the methods by which the Chinese Government had for years 
controlled all Chinese organs of public opinion and, through censorship 
or bribery of foreign news agencies or correspondents, had determined 
what the peoples of the Western world should learn about China. That 
was why the Red Army had so long been called "bandits", "Com- 
munist bandits", "Red bandits", "vermin", and similar names. 

"The Chinese Press," I exclaimed, "is perhaps the most servile on 
earth. The West, at least, has had newspaper men willing to be pilloried 
or dragged through the streets for the sake of a free Press." 

"I will admit Chinese venality and servility," a Chinese friend 
declared, "but we also have had Press martyrs. Do ilot forget Lu Hsiin 
and his followers." 

"Yes," I admitted, "and there is Samuel Chang. He's one nationalist 
liberal editor who fights as best he can. He was having a bitter time with 
the censors when I left Shanghai." 

I dragged out one of my boxes, containing a file of documents going 
back to 1932, when Sam Chang had been director of the Department of 
Intelligence and Publicity in the Ministry of Foreigh Affairs. Among 
them were the originals of four articles which he had Written on the 
corruption of the Press and which had been suppressed. 

In his articles as I told my friends that evening he wrote that the 
Kuomintang had once been a progressive, revolutionary party, but when 

it rose to power, many politicians from the old Peking Government 
had joined its ranks and introduced the old Peking system of bribery 
of the Press. One article dealt with two secret contracts between 
a British news agency and the Publicity Department of the Kuo- 
mintang and the Ministry. In return for $10,000 a month from the 
Kuomintang and $3,000 a month from the Department of Intelligence 
and Publicity, the agency agreed to give "favourable publicity " to the 
Kuomintang. Sam Chang declared that these contracts, introduced 
during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, were blackmail against 

I laid before my friends photographs of contracts which proved 
Chang's charges; and then I added: "The Chinese Government has 
conferred the Order of the Brilliant Jade upon the head of the British 

"And that's not all by half/' I told them. "A Shanghai correspondent 
for one of the largest New York dailies was revealed by another news- 
paper man to be receiving a regular monthly bribe from the Kuomintang 
and was discharged. The man who exposed him and got his job is him- 
self very friendly to the Japanese. Many such foreigners work for the 
Japanese, but mostly they are British and American, for Great Britain 
and America are the two most powerful countries which Japan must hold 
off until it is ready. Sometimes these harlots work openly, sometimes - 
indirectly. An English editor came up from Hong Kong to take charge 
of the Shanghai Times, a daily partly owned by the Japanese. An Irishman 
in north China edits a paper for the Japanese. The Far Eastern Review, a ; 
large monthly magazine in Shanghai, has been financed by the Japanese 
since the Versailles Treaty. Its publisher, an American named George 
Bronson Rae, was an adviser to the Chinese delegation during the peace 
negotiations and became so angry because the Chinese rejected his pro- 
posals that he walked right across the street to the Yokohama Specie 
Bank and entered the service of the Japanese. Rae had left Donald, an 
Australian, as editor in Shanghai, but when Donald learned that the 
magazine was henceforth to be a Japanese organ, he walked out. It was 
some time before the publication could appear. George Bronson Rae 
thereafter quite openly appeared as a Japanese propaganda agent and 
as adviser to the puppet Government of Manchukuo. When he left 
for Washington to do propaganda for Manchukuo, George Sokolsky, 
another American, became editor of the magazine, and when Sokolsky 
left for America, an American named Charles Laval took over." 

"Americans are well represented !" someone interrupted. 

"Yes," I said."But we also have other kinds of Americans. Take 
John B, Powell, editor of the China Weekly Review. Incidentally, Powell 
once asked Laval why he did the dirty work of the Japanese, and Laval 
replied : 'When you get as old as I am, you will take a hand in anybody's 

poker game.' " 


Later I felt that my high estimate of Powell was borne out when the 
Chicago Tribune ousted him as its China correspondent, a position which 
he had held since 1928. The Tribune wrote him that it no longer con- 
sidered Chinese news important. After that they retained only one 
correspondent in the Far East, Kimpei Sheba, a Japanese from Hono- 
lulu, who had his office in Japan. He alone covered the China-Japanese 
War for the Tribune. 

To these Red Army men I said : "I am convinced that some American 
and British correspondents in China would never have sent out those 
official Kuomintang reports against you had they had a ghost of a chance 
of getting the truth directly from you. If they could visit you now, they 
would write honestly." 

They thought about it, then someone said : "Well, if any would come, 
we would welcome them." 

This was the origin of my attempts to break the news blockade against 
the Red Army. I sent confidential invitations to about a dozen leading 
foreign editors and correspondents in Shanghai, warning them, of course, 
that they would have to run the gauntlet of Kuomintang troops and 
Blue Shirt detectives which guarded Sian. I instructed them to come to 
Sian in groups of three or four only, put up at the Sian Guest House on 
certain dates, and wait till a foreign woman bearing a card from me 
arranged for their transportation northwards. 

The invitation aroused almost every newspaper man who received it, 
and Shanghai buzzed with excitement. The editor of the leading British 
daily, the North China Daily News, was a liberal and yvas regarded as the 
dean of the foreign newspaper fraternity. I invited Kim to lead the first 
group. I had not reckoned, however, with the journalistic practice of 
seeking "scoops". I held such practices in contempt, for I did not con- 
sider great national movements publicity stunts. Down in Shanghai 
everyone who accepted the invitation wished to be the first to come. 

But the Chinese Government learned of the preparations and warned 
the journalists that if they tried to visit the Communists, the Government 
would consider it an unfriendly act. The board of directors of the British 
daily thereupon ordered their editor to drop out. But the head of the 
United Press office instructed Earl Leaf, his north China representative, 
to leave Tientsin and proceed to Sian. Later John B. Powell and Victor 
Keen, a correspondent for the New Tork Herald Tribune, also decided to 
run the gauntlet. 

The two correspondents went to the Shanghai airdrome on the 
appointed date and were in a plane when special police appeared and 
ordered them to get out. Powell decided it would be unwise to resist and, 
after an argument, returned home. But Keen asked the police to show 
him a copy of any Chinese law which he was violating. Since there was 
not even a regulation, he angrily took his seat in the plane and refused to 
budge. When he reached Sian, detectives followed him night and day. 

A certain foreign woman met him, presented a certain card to him and 
Mr. Keen mysteriously disappeared. Shortly afterwards he turned up in 
Yenan. * * 

But even before this, young, beautiful Nym Wales (Mrs. Edgar Snow) 
had arrived in Sian. A special guard of three detectives dogged her 
footsteps. She watched their habits, and one dark night crawled out of 
her hotel window, leaving a little note telling the manager she would be 
back later ! She remained three months in Yenan gathering material for 
a book. 

The next to heave in sight was Earl Leaf of the United Press, coming 
from north China. By this time the Government detectives suspected 
every foreigner, and though Leaf interviewed Sian officials and mission- 
aries, he also was trailed. Then he too mysteriously disappeared ! 

These were the first foreigners after Edgar Snow, Ma Hai-teh (the 
American doctor), the German Li Teh, and myself to reach the forbidden 
land. The arrival of each was a tremendous event in Yenan. A few weeks 
later Dr. Owen Lattimore and a group of American scholars who were 
making a tour of all China came through in their own car. All the men 
and women in Yenan educational institutions, all research groups, and 
all Communist Party members were ordered out to hear them lecture on 
international affairs. Bathed in sunlight, Dr. Lattimore stood on the 
ancient stone platform before an old Confucian temple and lectured in 
English to an eager audience. I felt that the best minds of the West were 
at last reaching the advance guards of the Asiatic revolution. 

The foreign newspaper men who reached Yenan felt remarkably at 
ease. None of the formality and dissimilation of official life existed 
among the Communists. Speaking of them, one newspaper man made a 
remark of a kind which I was later to hear again and again from other 
foreign correspondents. He said they were "not Chinese, but new 

These newspaper men interviewed all and sundry, visited educational 
institutions, and at night attended the "Anti-Japanese Resistance 
Theatre". They spent evenings in pleasant conversation with Com- 
munist leaders, and my own house often resounded with their laughter. 
I would send a note to Mao Tze-tung to come and chat, and he would 
soon enter, bringing a sack of peanuts. The foreigners would then be 
asked for a song, and when they had done their best, the Chinese would 
sing or tell tales. Or they would all plunge into a discussion. 

At the evening theatrical perfoimances the audience would often 
stamp or clap in unison, demanding that the visiting foreigners entertain. 
We Americans are not a singing people ; when Victor Keen was asked to 
sing he wanted to*sink through the earth. But the audience would have 
none of it- I asked Vic if he knew any figures of the Virginia reel. Ho 
did, and he and I got on the stage and to the great delight of the audience 
put on an American folk-dance. 

E (China) 129 

One of the first questions asked by visiting Americans was about the 
sex life of the Army. Red Army leaders explained that men had sex 
needs, but the Army tried to absorb the energies of the soldiers in military 
training and various cultural activities which continued from reveille to 

One day a visiting camera-man asked me : "Does the Red Army pro- 
vide the soldiers with French letters to protect them from venereal disease?" 
It was a question w r hich showed the deep gulf existing between these Red 
Army men and the men from America. The Red Army was so poor that 
it lacked even money for the essentials of existence ; it had never heard of 
French letters. All Chinese women are married at an early age ; a sex life 
for soldiers would automatically have meant the violation of married 
women. Violation of women was a criminal oifence in the Army, and 
prostitution was forbidden. When I explained this to the camera-man, 
he looked at me with an expression of horror. 

After the Japanese invasion began and I was at the front, a number of 
other foreigners broke the blockade and visited Yenan, but never without 
having great difficulty with the police of Sian. Even after the Red Army 
had become a part of the national defence system, rlewspaper men could 
not get Government permission to visit it. To break the blockade be- 
came an adventure and a challenge. 

Journalists never returned from the Red Army without feeling that 
they had been among modern men, men much like themselves. They 
liked Mao Tzc-tung tremendously and told bizarre tales of him. One 
such foreigner was a long, lean, titled Englishman whom Mao teased 
mercilessly, even offering to marry him off to some Chinese girl if he 
would remain in Yenan. When the Englishman returned to Hankow 
months later, he was a deep-dyed pink ; and he could not get over Mao 


JL RICK LING OVER THE radio into Yenan on the morning of July 8, 
1937, came the news that there had been another "incident" this time 
at Lukuochiao (Marco Polo Bridge), some fifteen miles south-west of 
Peiping. The Japanese had been "manoeuvring" around Peiping, and 
the Chinese had felt much as Americans would feel if the Japanese Army 
were conducting military manoeuvres around New York or San Fran- 
cisco. On the night of the 7th the Japanese pretended that one of their 
soldiers was "missing" and demanded the right to search the walled town 
ofWanping. The magistrate refused. By such methods the Japanese had 
filtered into five Chinese provinces and had forcec^ the demilitarization 
of a part of Hopei Province. 

Some time between midnight and the morning of July 8, fighting 

began between the Chinese 2gth Route Army, commanded by General 
Sung Cheh-yuan, and the Japanese at Wanping and at Marco Polo 

Despite the fact that they were entirely outnumbered, having only 
10,000 men against twice that number of Japanese troops, the agth 
Route Army (once one of the armies of the Christian General, Feng Yu- 
hsiang) continued to fight. By the third week in July the Japanese had 
seiit eight war-time divisions and two hundred airplanes inside the 
Great Wall. Chinese casualties were % appal!ing, including hundreds of 

It was becoming clear that even if the Chinese Government were 
willing to consider thi$ a "local incident" the Japanese were not, but 
were determined to conquer the country. In the mountain resort of 
Ruling, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek debated the alternatives of war 
or peace with his highest commanders and officials. Throughout Yenan 
and the whole north-west, students took the small, primitive maps 
published by Resistance University (Kang Da) and began holding small 
street meetings to explain the war to the civilian population. Groups of 
them sat in the streets, talking and explaining, their maps spread on the 
earth before them. 

All China was ringing with voices demanding full military support of 
the 2gth Route Army, and on July 17 Generalissimo Chiang broke his 
long silence, issuing his historic four-point statement telling the country 
that the final stage had come, that China would have to fight to the 
utmost or "perish forever". 

When the Generalissimo's statement came over the air, bugles sounded 
and gongs clanged and the streets filled with people. I stood under the 
old town gate to watch long grey-blue columns of men and women 
march past. I have never been able to convey the impression they made 
upon me. They were grave, solemn. Not a breath of bravado was in 
them, yet they seemed dedicated to death and to life. In them was a 
simple grandeur as fundamental and as undemonstrative as the earth. 
They belonged to China, they were China. As I watched them, my own 
life seemed but chaos. 

In August 1937 the Red Army was finally reorganized into the Eighth 
Route Army and divisions began leaving for the northern front, the 
sector in which the Japanese were conquering strategic cities and passes 
7-often with little effort. For weeks groups of Kang Da commanders had 
been hurriedly finishing their courses and starting southwards through 
torrential rains, wjth packs on their, backs. Each group's departure was 
like a knife in my heart, for my back injury made it impossible for me to 
accompany them. In mid-September I at last joined a group leaving for 
Sian. Intent on reaching the Sian missionary hospital and being X-rayed, 
I went part of the way on a bamboo stretcher which Mao Tze-tung gave 
me and part of the way rode my horse or walked. Reaching Sanyuan 

after ten days over terrible roads, I sent my pony ahead to Chu Teh at 
the front. 

X-ray examination indicated that my injury was only muscular, 
painful but not dangerous, and the doctors strapped me up and told me 
to lie flat on a board as long as possible before I left for the front. For 
three weeks I lay in a small room in the Sian headquarters of the Eighth 
Route Army, watching the open courtyard beyond. That courtyard 
reflected the momentous changes taking place in China. Each train 
discharged groups of released political prisoners. Prison pallor still 
marked their faces, and many had tuberculosis, nervous disorders, or 
stomach ailments. They remained only long enough to take the next 
trucks for Yenan, where they hoped to recover their health and enter 
either Kang Da or Shanpei. 

It was the middle of October when two Chinese journalists, Chou Li-po 
and a Manchurian, Hsu Chuen, and I left by train for Tungkwan. 
There we alighted to take the narrow-gauge, single-line railway that led 
northwards to Taiyuan, the provincial capital of Shansi Province. 
China was now fighting in earnest and all conversation centred on this 
one subject. As we passed through the streets towards the Yellow River, 
we saw in the distance a long procession carrying national banners, and 
the strains of their marching song came to us from afar. 

Then, suddenly, the war was upon us. Our junk landed on the north 
bank of the river in front of the rambling mud town of Fenglingtohkow. 
This little town, in which we hoped to find lodgings for the night, was a 
mass of soldiers, civilians, carts, mules, horses, and street vendors. As we 
walked up the mud paths towards the town, we saw on cither side of us 
long rows of wounded soldiers lying on the earth. There were hundreds 
of them swathed in dirty, bloody bandages, and some were unconscious. 
Repeatedly we paused to talk to them. Some had been wounded a month 
before and had made their way southwards from village to village, 
occasionally getting a ride on some lumbering cart. Thousands had died 
en route, and the lightly wounded, now in serious condition, were 
waiting to be transported across the river, where they could take trains 
east or west. There were no doctors, nurses, or attendants with 

As we passed through these lines of suffering and dying men, I said to 
my companions : "Our first war reporting will be about the condition of 
the wounded. I will try to get foreign aid and volunteers." 

My party found one small room. All the men lay close together on the 
Kang) and my guards pitched my camp cot in the narrow space at the 
foot. The sight of the untended wounded left me sleepless, and. in the 
darkness of the night I heard the Manchurian, Hsu Chuen, turn restlessly 
and sigh. 

"Why can't you sleep?" I asked, aqd he answered: "It is the Man- 
churian cavalrymen ! They set me thinking of my. old parents in north 

Manchuria. I do not know if they are alive or dead. I shall perhaps 
never see them again." 

I lay staring into the darkness, wondering how many millions of 
Chinese carried such sorrows in their hearts. 

Next day we found places in a crowded box-car. Night found us still 
crawling slowly northwards. Once we remained at a station for a long 
time. Hearing voices, I rose and went to the open door. The moon was 
at the full, and on the tracks before us was a long train of open flat cars 
loaded with hundreds of wounded men who sat or lay in 'every con- 
ceivable position. 

We reached Taiyuan before dawn on the second day and walked to 
the local headquarters of the Eighth Route Army. While we were at 
breakfast the first enemy bombers came over and bombed the city. We 
went into dugouts beneath the building. There were similar dugouts 
throughout the city, the official ones being hundreds of feet deep and 
made of reinforced concrete. 

For days we visited high military and medical officials, including the 
old Governor, General Yen Hsi-shan, his medical chief, and General Fu 
Tso-yi, who had lost most of his army in fighting the Japanese in Suiyuan 

It was not polite in those days to speak or write the truth about officials 
or military men. Nor is it today, when China fights for her life. Yet the 
lid is off civilization, and if we are to build a new world we must see all 
that is wrong with the old. I am convinced that China and this applies 
to my own country too would never have suffered such defeats or losses 
as it did if its Government had been truly revolutionary' and democratic 
and had ruthlessly cleaned its ranks of appeascrs and unenlightened 

General Yen Hsi-shan, Governor of Shansi and commander of the 
Shansi Provincial Army, was not so consciously reactionary as some other 
generals and officials ; he was merely somewhat the worse for age, and 
utterly ignorant of the youth, virility, and ruthlessncss of the Japanese 
Army. He and almost all commanders of his army were much concerned 
with the industrial plants of the province, and many were landlords. 
Their soldiers were "old", unenlightened, and badly equipped pathetic 
in their impotence. The Japanese knew all this well, and later, as they 
advanced, tried to turn the chief ones into puppets by protecting their 
homes and property. They even threw a cordon of protecting troops 
around the home of Dr. H. H. Kung, Minister of Finance of the Central 
Government, in Taiyuan. Their knowledge of China was great. But to 
the credit of eventhe aged and unenlightened, no one went over to the 

The medical department of the Shansi Army was primitive. When I 
spoke to the Surgeon General about the possibility of organizing volun- 
teer stretcher-bearers and first-aid workers, he became suspicious; the 


idea savoured of dangerous popular movements. He could think only in 
terms of money. No man would carry the wounded from the battle- 
field unless paid for it, he said, and he was considering a system whereby 
anyone who brought in a wounded soldier would be paid. 

The Surgeon General sent me by car to visit two of the five base 
hospitals in the city. There were sixteen hospitals in the province, but 
they were generally buildings where men lay on straw on the earthen floor. 
The one exception to this was the hospital for the severely wounded in 
Taiyuan. It was a model because its chief was a qualified surgeon who 
had come down from the Peking Union Medical College. His work-day 
was never less than eighteen hours. He had a staff of nineteen unqualified 
doctor assistants, eighteen unqualified male nurses, and twenty qualified 
women nurses. While I was there, 1,300 severely wounded men lay under 
his care. In September his hospital had received 5,000 cases, and all but 
the most severe had been evacuated southwards by train. This hospital 
had only the essential surgical instruments, and no X-ray, sedative 
drugs, or anti-tetanus toxin. Blood transfusion was unheard df. 

The only X-ray in the entire province was in the mission hospital; 
but this institution had taken in only thirty wounded men, all officers 
who could pay. I went to the mission hospital to have my back strapped 
again and to have one of my guards examined for tuberculosis. The 
woman doctor remarked that there were not many wounded soldiers 
coming from the front because the Chinese did not fight, but always fled 
before the Japanese. At the time we were trying to win the missionaries 
to the united front, so I swallowed my anger and made a soft reply, telling 
her of the hospitals I had seen. 

Before leaving Taiyuan for the headquarters of the Eighth Route 
Army, I spent an entire night preparing a report on the wounded of the 
north-west. To this I appended an appeal for foreign medical aid to 
China and for the formation of foreign committees to secure such aid. 
This report I sent to John B. Powell in Shanghai and he broadcast it. 

The Japanese had now advanced as far as Sinkow, a strong mountain 
pass some two hundred miles north of Taiyuan, and as far east as 
Shihchiachwan, the junction of the Peiping-Hankow and Chentai 
Railways. From the latter point, the Chentai Railway, a single-track 
narrow-gauge line, ran through a formidable mountain gorge up to 
Taiyuan. The Japanese were therefore advancing on Taiyuan from two 
directions. One of the ablest nationalist commanders, General Wei 
Li-hwang, was in command of all the Chinese forces on the Sinkow front, 
among them a number of good divisions of the Central Government. The 
Eighth Route Army was "sitting on the tail" of the Japanese and was on 
both their right and their left flanks, attacking transport and troop 
columns moving down from the front. My goal was the Eighth Rofcte 
Army -headquarters in the Wutai mountain range and in the rear of the 

The Chinese battle-front now stretched thousands of miles. Far away 
in Shanghai and Nanking the best-trained Government Divisions, with 
the famous Kwangsi Provincial Army, were standing like a Great Wall 
of human flesh against the combined force of Japan's naval, army, and 
air power. Unlike the armies in our regions, they had no mountains to 
shield them. 

One glimmer of light had penetrated the darkness of north China. 
This was the battle of Pinghsinkwan. A young Eighth Route com- 
mander, Lin Piao, had led a part of one division against the Japanese at 
Pinghsinkwan, a pass near the Great Wall in the Wutai Mountains. 
Informed that the Japanese were trying to break through at this point, 
Eighth Route units marched for two days and two nights to reach it. 
After a few hours' sleep Lin Piao sent flying columns far to the rear and 
against the flanks of the advancing enemy, holding one regiment at 
Pinghsinkwan to meet them head on. The flying columns occupied five 
towns which the Japanese were using as rear bases, and small guerrilla 
detachments used hillsides and mountains to harass the advancing 

Since they had met only weak Chinese resistance up to then, the 
enemy had no protecting airplanes or tanks. They also had difficulty 
with those strange roads that characterize the loess terrain of the north- 
west roads that have been worn into the earth as deep as ravines. The 
Eighth Route regiment at Pinghsinkwan placed machine-gun nests along 
these tunnel-like roads, while troops lay in wait on the cliffs above. They 
would let an enemy column advance, then open up on it with hand- 
grenades from above and machine-guns from below. When the battle 
ended on September 26, one brigade of the old Samurai 5th Japanese 
Division had been annihilated. The Eighth Route had wiped out 
brigade headquarters and captured military maps, documents, diaries, 
and great quantities of clothing, money, and provisions. In one of the 
captured Japanese diaries I read the line : "The Red Army gives me a 

The battle of Pinghsinkwan was important because it was the first 
time the Chinese combined mobile and guerrilla warfare against the 
Japanese, because the civilian population had been drawn into the fight, 
and because it proved that by using the techniques of a "people's war" 
even a poorly equipped Chinese force could defeat a fully equipped enemy. 
Months later, in Hankow, Lieutenant-General Joseph W. Stilwell, then 
a Colonel, and an American military attache spent half a day with me 
analyzing this battle. 

Time and space lost their significance and days passed uncounted. 
But it was some time in the third week of October that the two Chinese 
newspaper men and I left Taiyuan on an Eighth Route Army truck and 
climbed towards the walled mountain town of Wutai. I had worked 


throughout the previous night, and asjJie truck roared northwards I 
began to fall asleep. The men warned me to keep awake because 
Japanese planes made a practice of attacking trucks at night, spotting 
them by their headlights. But I slept on : death had come to seem an 
unimportant accident. Once I awoke to see a column of trucks, bristling 
with soldiers, moving southwards, accompanied by long columns of 
marching men and heavily laden horses and mules. 

Our truck laboured up the stony gorges into the Wutai Mountains 
and finally brought us to the headquarters of the People's Mobilization 
Committee in Wutai. Young enthusiastic men in uniform ordered a 
meal for us, and soon the ro6m was filled with civilians. The newspaper 
men and I were weary for lack of sleep, but the others seemed to think 
that one could sleep any time, while the chance to talk with journalists 
was an occasion. Furthermore, they said, Japanese planes bombed the 
town almost every day, thinking it the headquarters of the Eighth Route 
Army, and we ought therefore to get out before eight in the morning. 

We spent most of the night talking about this "people's movement" 
in the enemy rear. The movement seemed to me like fresh water in a 
desert, because I had also spent considerable time with a People's 
Mobilization Committee in Taiyuan. The efforts of the Taiyuan com- 
mittee had been frustrated by officials who thought of the war only as a 
conflict between armies. If the common people should be trained and 
armed, they thought, they would indeed fight the Japanese, but after- 
wards they might refuse to lay down their arms and return to pre-war 

So the Taiyuan People's Mobilization Committee had had to pussy- 
foot around, trying to convince the authorities that mobilization would 
make them popular and consolidate their power. Grudgingly, cautiously, 
the authorities permitted the committee to hold meetings and explain the 
purpose of the war, but only to the people living in regions bordering the 
actual battlefield. This region did not even include Taiyuan, for the 
'authorities did not believe that city would fall. General Yen, however, 
had been prevailed upon to form the "Dare to Die Corps" of students, 
and military training-schools were being started in various parts of the 

Here, where the Eighth Route Army alone dared penetrate, mass 
organizers swarmed everywhere, forming anti-Japanese associations of 
peasants, students, merchants, women, and children. They were drawing 
the young men into guerrilla detachments and the older men into village 
self-defence corps. A number of these older men hacj been elected by 
the various anti-Japanese organizations as magistrates or lesser couttty 
officials in place of those who had fled before the Japanese advance. 

Some time before dawn we at last lay down to sleep, but were soon 
awakened. We could already hear the roar of guns from the west After in* 
spccting the partly destroyed town, we began trudging along the paths and 

narrow roads into the mountains. It was a crisp, sunny autumn day, and 
on the road was an endless caravan of people. Only the distant roar of 
guns, and an occasional airplane passing over, gave one the feeling of war. 

Around noon we arrived at a village in a broad golden valley and 
were assigned to a large room in a beautiful stone building which had 
curved, gargoyled roofs of coloured tile. A grove of birch sheltered the 
village, and across the valley arose other peaceful villages and clumps of 
trees. One was the headquarters of Chu Teh, and soon a guard came 
galloping up on my pony, Yunnan, with a message of welcome. 

The building which we occupied was the headquarters of the Political 
Department of the Army, and the courtyards were filled with com- 
manders and political workers. They were using captured Japanese 
overcoats and pistols and we ourselves soon began to live sumptuously 
on Japanese food. 

Among the men I met here was a political worker returned from 
Laiyuan, a town in western Hopci Province, south-west of Peiping, 
which had just been recaptured from the Japanese. When Laiyuan fell 
to the Chinese, he told me, the puppet Government established by the 
Japanese had fled into an Italian Catholic mission. The priest had pre- 
viously selected the men as puppet leaders, and had helped the Japanese 
collect food and establish their espionage system. The Eighth Route 
Army had knocked on the barred gates of the mission, but the priest 
had run up the Italian flag and shouted that the Chinese and Italian 
Governments still maintained diplomatic relations and that Italian pro- 
perty was therefore immune from search. The Eighth Route Army had 
telegraphed all this to Nanking, but no reply ever came. Mariy similar 
incidents involving Italian priests and diplomatic officials occurred, but 
nothing was done about them. When I asked the Eighth Route Army 
commanders why they did not break down the mission gates and take 
out the Chinese traitors, they said they dared not, lest they be accused of 
attacking Christianity. 

I remained a week in the Wutai Mountains. I spent one day with Chu 
Teh, who gave us a complete report of the fighting his army had done 
since it had penetrated the enemy rear. On other days my colleagues 
and I went intc^the hills to watch young civilians being trained for guer- 
rilla warfare. ^ie village was the headquarters of the People's Mobiliza- 
tion Committee, and the whole village was a training base. Very little 
was being done to mobilize women, but in the following weeks trained 
women organizers and educators walked all the way from Yenan to start 
this work. 

I was witnessing the birth of the powerful mass movement that later 
turned the Wutai mountain range into a powerful base of resistance. 
In time the region became a great educational, hospital, military, and 
political centre in which thousands of men from four northern and north- 
western provinces studied. 

B2 137 

Suddenly the Eighth Route Army received orders to move its head- 
quarters and one division to the Chentai Railway in order to help stem 
the Japanese advance, and on the following morning we began a memor- 
able march southwards over the mountain ranges to the railway. 

Though marching rapidly and under danger of daily air-raids, I saw 
in operation the comprehensive system that had brought the Red Army 
to birth and enabled it to live and grow. Groups of men, representing 
various departments of the Army, went in advance of us. When we 
reached a resting-place at night, chalked signs on trees and walls directed 
each department to its quarters, and when we reached our section of a 
town or village, we found, even the words "newspaper men" written on a 
door. According to its size, 4 each home gave one or more rooms to 
the Army. Strict Army rules concerning the treatment of the people 
enabled the troops to live like sons of the family. 

Each evening the soldiers gathered to continue their education. A 
course of lectures on the history of Chinese-Japanese relations was just 
then being given in all units. And as soon as we arrived in any stopping- 
place we heard the beating of gongs and shouts of "Kai hwei! Kai hwei!" 
(Mass meeting !) calling everyone to a meeting where speeches were made 
about the war and the need for the people to participate. Organizers 
were always left behind to continue the same mobilization work I had 
witnessed in Wutaishan. 

As we approached the Ghentai Railway, we began to hear the ceaseless 
roar of artillery. The Japanese had broken through the pass near 
Shihchiachwan and were pushing forward. When airplanes droned 
towards us we scattered or, if in a village, took cover. 

We were soon marching only at night ; one morning we halted just 
ten li (three miles) from the railway. Many of the near-by villages had 
been bombed and were almost deserted, but we found quarters and slept 
all day through a heavy roar of guns. I awoke often to hear bombers 
passing over and held my breath while listening for the deadly scream of 
falling bombs. The planes passed and I went back to sleep. 

We began marching again at midnight, planning to cross the railway 
before dawn. I had mailed iry last diary notes at a large town the day 
before, and I wondered what their fate would be, for the most remarkable 
of all institutions is the Chinese post office. Mail-carrien^vork regularly 
through rain and storm, war and peace. They walk, push barrows, 
drive donkeys, travel by bicycle, cart, horse, camel, river-junk, railway, 
airplane. They may be late, but only some major disaster halted the 
service in any region. We were in such a region, and my reports were 
safer with the post office than with me. As we neare4 the Chentai Rail- 
way, I ceased writing altogether and destroyed every scrap of writing 
in my possession. 

The first faint glow of dawn came and we still had not crossed the 
railway. Our vanguard had lost the way, and when they at last found it, 

the dawn threatened us like a dangerous beast. Never have I hated the 
light so much. Repeatedly down the column came the desperate order : 
"Hurry! hurry!' 5 

At last we reached the railway, but had missed the crossing ! We had 
to march along the track for thirty minutes until we found the road 
leading into the country to the south. Moving forward silently, desper- 
ately, the men would start to trot, then fall into a walk again, panting. 
They were heavily laden with guns and ammunition. Mangled bodies 
lay along the track, and once we passed the remnants of a retreating 
Army unit, exhausted, with the horror of war still on their green faces. 
We found a soldier in a dead sleep under a bridge, and all our shouts 
failed to awaken him. From the east came an engine pulling laden 
freight-cars. The whistle shrieked and we cleared the track as it roared 
past. In the cab window I saw the set, hard face of the Chinese engineer 
watching the track in front of him and sending out his warning. I 
thought of the heroism of all the railwaymcn of China. Day by day, 
month by month, year in and year out, they had faced certain death, for 
the railways always were chief objectives. They remained the unknown, 
unsung heroes of China. 

At last we found the road, and with a sigh of relief turned south. In 
less than half an hour, while the main body of our troops were still on the 
tracks, the first enemy airplane came over. We crouched or fled into the 
fields and waited. The plane passed, observing nothing ! 

For the next ten days the Eighth Route Army fought a running battle 
all along the southern flank of the Chentai Railway. The Japanese 
columns came on and on ; and weary Chinese armies, including our own, 
fought them, retreated, and then fought them again. Japanese bombers 
roared over us daily, sometimes hourly, but did not find our headquarters. 
One morning I went to headquarters to talk with Chu Teh, but found it 
surrounded by a few hundred armed civilians, many of them ragged, 
unwashed, barefooted. With them were women and children, one a 
solidly built old woman over sixty years of age, her white hair flying. 
They were miners and railway workers who, as the Japanese approached, 
took arms from a local arsenal, tore up the railway, and began fighting. 
Many had already been killed. Now they came to join the Eighth Route 

Throughout one long night a fierce battle raged just across the hills 
from us. We could hear the harsh symphony of hammering machine- 
guns, and Chu Teh's face was the colour of clay. With the dawn the 
word "Victory 55 was flashed to us, and my newspaper colleagues and I 
were off, galloping over the hills to the battlefield. 

AVe passed hundreds of laden horses and mules captured from thf 
enemy. The entire valley leading to the south was a chaos of shouting 
men and stamping, kicking animals. Once we stopped dead in our 
tracks at the sight of columns of armed men pouring over a hill in our . 


rear and coming straight for us. They wore Japanese overcoats, but their 
bodies and movements were Chinese, and they ran forward with shouts 
and laughter, their coats spreading out behind them like wings. Like an 
avalanche they poured past us, shouting, singing snatches of song, hailing 
us with joy. It was the division of the Eighth Route Army which had 
left the Wutai Mountains weeks before. In the midst of the clamour I 
heard my Chinese name shouted and an officer ran towards me. I 
greeted him with outspread arms. It was Chen Ken, a commander who 
had worked with me years before when he had come tb Shanghai to get 
medical treatment for a wound. 

Then he too was off down the valley towards the battlefield. There- 
after my colleagues and I wandered from village to village having 
strange experience after experience talking with Japanese captives 
. . .. rescuing a big case of Japanese money which someone was joyously 
distributing as souvenirs. . . . 

The battle continued for days, and the divisional headquarters which 
we had joined, Lin Piao's, was right on the ridge of hills overlooking the 
valley through which the enemy was pouring. Enemy batteries blasted a 
way for them and enemy planes kept sweeping over us. 

One night at dusk as I was standing on a summit, a column of Eighth 
Route Army soldiers came up out of a dark ravine, passed me, and dis- 
appeared down into the ravine through which the Japanese were pouring. 
Strong, hardene^l- fighters, they walked swiftly, easily, without missing a 
step of their rhythmic march despite the fact that they were heavily laden 
with ammunition. Their feet were soft-shod and made not a sound in 
passing. A boy of thirteen or fourteen 'carrying a big Standard- Oil tin 
filled with water ran after a soldier bending under a machine-gun. The 
boy's face was filled with excitement and the water spashcd as he ran. 
That picture is etched in my memory. Was it the faces of men going to 
meet a powerful enemy or was it that spindly-legged little boy with the 
gasoline tin that so deeply affected me? The gasoline tin was the only 
contribution from my country to China which I saw on the north- 
. western front. But the enemy planes above us were American and their 
bombs were made of scrap iron and chemicals from America. 

Approaching from the north and east, the Japanese took Taiyuan. 
We left one division along the Chentai Railway and, with Lin Piao's 
division, general headquarters moved to southern Shansi under orders 
to sit astride the railway running the length of the province. 

Now we marched more leisurely, seldom making more than eighty or^ 
ninety K (twenty-five to thirty miles) a day. I learned to reckon distance 
by my weariness. Up to sixty K I was fresh, but after that each mile 
seemed to grow longer and longer. The earth was frozen, the rivers 
covered with a thin layer of ice, and the mountains were wrapped in 
snow* It was often so cold that I could ride for only a few moments and 
then had to walk. But there were also warm sunny days when joy 

flowed through us, ana on sucn aays we 

to rest, to visit other units of the Army, or to wander off to talk with 


When the rain or the soft snow fell, turning the earth to a mass of mud, 
we sometimes remained in one place for many days. Then the vicinity 
buzzed with meetings, conferences, and civilian training. We crossed the 
Luliang mountain range in a snowstorm that fell in thick white clouds 
and turned the paths into a mass of half-frozen mud through which we 
slithered and struggled, pulling our horses behind us. I had lice, and the 
freezing mud filled my shoes. I found a man having an appendicitis 
attack by the roadside, and lifted him into my saddle, where he rode, 
moaning. The snow fell, heavily laden men stumbled, and horses and 
donkeys had to be lifted to their feet and reloaded. Black crows flew 
down, shivering in the snow, and the very cap on my head became a 

Then I heard a flute play. It came out of the snowstorm like a clear, 
sparkling stream, telling tales of loveliness unspeakable. It played and 
played, leading^us on through the white world to the mountain summit. 
Then I saw the dim figures of soldiers moving downward, and one of 
them had both hands lifted to a flute. 

Down past the ancient walled town of Hungtung and on over the 
broad frozen flat countryside beyond. Midnight found us wandering 
aimlessly from village to village. In the early morning we reached the 
home of a landlord, saw our name on a door, and entered to find the 
whole family waiting for us with hot food and drink. We had marched 
some eighteen hours this day and night, but how many K I do not know. 
The Chinese are very realistic. When they inarch up a mountain, the /* I 
becomes longer ; when they descend, it is considered shorter. ' 

We remained for weeks in the Hungtung region. I rode here and there, 
buying, begging, and borrowing medical supplies. Eighth Route fighting 
units marched northwards, north-east, and north-west to anticipate 
possible routes of enemy advance. New volunteers came in long lines to 
headquarters, and soon all the wheat-fields were black with them as they 
drilled and manoeuvred. At night the villages were filled with soldiers 
sitting in classes. Enemy bombers plastered Hungtung, thinking we 
were there. 

In late December two foreigners arrived. One of them was James 
Bertram, the young New Zealander whom I had met in Sian at the time 
Generalissimo Chiang had been captured. He carried a copy of Shake* 
speare's works, and the halo of Oxford culture hovered about his head. 
This loftiness irritated me. The other visitor Was Captain Evans F. 
Carlson, Marine intelligence Officer in China. 

When I heard that Carlson had arrived, I decided to give him a wide 
berth. My experience with American officials in China had not been 
enviable. Most of them thought of the Chinese as "Chinamen" who took 

rear and coming straight for us. They wore Japanese overcoats, but their 
bodies and movements were Chinese, and they ran forward with shouts 
and laughter, their coats spreading out behind them like wings. Like an 
avalanche they poured past us, shouting, singing snatches of song, hailing 
us with joy. It was fhe division of the Eighth Route Army which had 
left the Wutai Mountains weeks before. In the midst of the clamour I 
heard my Chinese name shouted and an officer ran towards me. I 
greeted him with outspread arms. It was Chen Ken, a commander who 
had worked with me years before when he had come to Shanghai to get 
medical treatment for a wound. + 

Then he too was off down the valley towards the battlefield. There- 
after my colleagues and I wandered from village to village having 
strange experience after experience talking with Japanese captives 
. . ,. rescuing a big case of Japanese money which someone was joyously 
distributing as souvenirs. . . . 

The battle continued for days, and the divisional headquarters which 
we had joined, Lin Piao's, was right on the ridge of hills overlooking the 
valley through which the enemy was pouring. Enemy batteries blasted a 
way for them and enemy planes kept sweeping over us. 

One night at dusk as I was standing on a summit, a column of Eighth 
Route Army soldiers came up out of a dark ravine, passed me, and dis- 
appeared down into the ravine through which the Japanese \vcre pouring. 
Strong, harden^ fighters, they walked swiftly, easily, without missing a 
step of their rhythmic march despite the fact that they were heavily laden 
with ammunition. Their feet were soft-shod and made not a sound in 
passing. A boy of thirteen or fourteen carrying a big Standard Oil tin 
filled with water ran after a soldier bending under a machine-gun. The 
boy's face was filled with excitement and the water spashed as he ran. 
That picture is etched in my memory. Was it the faces of men going to 
meet a powerful enemy or was it that spindly-legged little boy with the 
gasoline tin that so deeply affected me? The gasoline tin was the only 
contribution from my country to China which I saw on the north- 
western front. But the enemy planes above us were American and their 
bombs were made of scrap iron and chemicals from America. 

Approaching from the north and cast, the Japanese took Taiyuan. 
We left one division along the Chcntai Railway and, with Lin Piao's 
division, general headquarters moved to southern Shansi under orders 
to sit astride the railway running the length of the province. 

Now we marched more leisurely, seldom making more than eighty or 
ninety K (twenty-five to thirty miles) a day. I learned to reckon distance 
by my weariness. Up to sixty li I was fresh, but after that each mile 
seemed to grow longer and longer. The earth was frozen, the rivers 
covered with a thin layer of ice, and the mountains were wrapped in 
snow. It was often so cold that I could ride for only a few moments and 
then had to walk. But there were also warm sunny days when joy 

flowed through us, and on such days we took advantage of the noon hour 
to rest, to visit other units of the Army, or to wander off to talk with 

When the rain or the soft snow fell, turning the earth to a mass of mud, 
we sometimes remained in one place for many days. Then the vicinity 
buzzed with meetings, conferences, and civilian training. We crossed the 
Luliang mountain range in a snowstorm that fell in thick white clouds 
and turned the paths into a mass of half-frozen mud through which we 
slithered and struggled, pulling our horses behind us. I had lice, and the 
freezing mud filled my shoes. I found a man having an appendicitis 
attack by the roadside, and lifted him into my saddle, where he rode, 
moaning. The snow fell, heavily laden men stumbled, and horses and 
donkeys had to be lifted to their feet and reloaded. Black crows flew 
downi shivering in the snow, and the very cap on my head became a 

Then I heard a flute play. It came out of the snowstorm like a clear, 
sparkling stream, telling tales of loveliness unspeakable. It played and 
played, leading us on through the white world to the mountain summit. 
Then I saw the dim figures of soldiers moving downward, and one oi 
them had both hands lifted to a flute. 

Down past the ancient walled town of Hungtung and on over the 
broad frozen flat countryside beyond. Midnight found us wandering 
aimlessly from village to village. In the early morning we reached the 
home of a landlord, saw our name on a door, and entered to find the 
whole family waiting for us with hot food and drink. We had marched 
some eighteen hours this day and night, but how many K I do not know. 
The Chinese are very realistic. When they march up a mountain, the /* 
becomes longer ; when they descend, it is considered shorter. 

We remained for weeks in the Hungtung region. I rode here and there, 
buying, begging, and borrowing medical supplies. Eighth Route fighting 
units marched northwards, north-east, and north-west to anticipate 
possible routes of enemy advance. New volunteers came in long lines to 
headquarters, and soon all the wheat-fields were black with them as they 
drilled and manoeuvred. At night the villages were filled with soldiers 
sitting in classes. Enemy bombers plastered Hungtung, thinking we 
were there. 

In late December two foreigners arrived. One of them was James 
Bertram, the young New Zealander whom I had met in Sian at the time 
Generalissimo Chiang had been captured. He carried a copy of Shake- 
speare's works, and the halo of Oxford culture hovered about his head. 
This loftiness irritated me. The other visitor Was Captain Evans F. 
Carlson, Marine intelligence Officer in China. 

When I heard that Carlson had arrived, I decided to give him a wide 
berth. My experience with American officials in China had not been 
enviable* Most of them thought of the Chinese as "Chinamen" who took 


in washing for a living ; I didn't like their religion, so to speak. Because 
I regarded the Red Army as a revolutionary organization of the poor, 
some Americans considered me a glorified street-walker; and after the 
Japanese invasion their women in particular had looked on me as a 
camp follower, a creature who lowered the prestige of the white race. 

One day I was sitting on a mud bank watching two Army units in a 
basket-ball game when Chu Teh came up behind me and asked me to 
meet one of my countrymen. 

4fl've long wanted to meet you. Miss Smedley," Captain Carlson 

"Well, now you've met me/' 1 remarked, and turned back to the ball 
game. . ** 

Carlson was a very long, lanky man so bony, in fact, that he looked 
loose. But when you went walking with him you found that he was as 
firm as the farmers of his native New England. There was an air of utter 
simplicity about him which I first thought must be a cunning dis guise. 

He had come to the Eighth Route Army to study guerrilla warfare 
from the point of view of the technician, but he had soon realized that 
guerrilla warfare is not merely a technical matter, but intricately bound 
up with a broad and deep political educational system designed to give 
men something to fight for, live for, and, if necessary, die for. He began 
studying this political system and was soon calling it "ethical indoc- 

The arrival of a foreign military man aroused the driving intellectual 
hunger of the Eighth Route Army commanders, and they called a 
conference to talk with him. This conference lasted for days and merged 
into an extended discussion of a hypothetical Japanese-American war 
which the Chinese Communists considered inevitable. They spread 
large maps on a table and for hours their fingers wandered over it from 
Singapore to the Aleutian Islands. They took it for granted that Singa- 
pore would be the base from which American and British forces would 
operate. The Chinese believed that America had fortified Alaska and the 
Aleutian Islands against Japanese attack they could not conceive that 
it could be otherwise, for until then the Chinese had entertained a high 
regard for American military sagacity. 

The Chinese commanders held back nothing about their own methods 
of mobile and guerrilla warfare. They sketched battle scenes, explaining 
how they avoided frontal engagements with a powerfully equipped 
enemy but instead prepared the whole battle region to serve in the lines 
or right behind them ; how they attacked the enemy's flanks and rear, 
cut up his columns and destroyed the segments, and disrupted his lines of 
communication. They told of their observations of the weak and strong 
points of the Japanese and of their own strength and weaknesses. Of the 
civilian population they said : 

"We move about among the people as freely as fish swimming in the 

ocean. By organizing and training the people wft automatically elimi- 
nate traitors. We rest in the hearts of the people." 

The friendship between Captain Carlson and myself which began in 
those days eventually became one of the firmest of my life, welded in the 
fires of war. On Christmas Eve I went to Carlson's room, where we made 
coffee, ate peanuts, and talked. He was of Norwegian descent, the son 
of a Connecticut pastor, and had a profound strain of religious ethics 
running through his character. His principles were deeply rooted in 
early American Jeffcrsbnian democracy ; that must have been why he 
felt at home in'the political and ethical atmosphere of the Eighth Route 
Army. For similar reasons most American newspaper men who visited 
that Army felt that they had at last found a fountain of Chinese demo- 
cracy. Captain Carlson's reaction towards the Eighth Route was such 
that it constantly reminded me of two lines in The Battle Hymn of the 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord ; 

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. 

And I always thought of him when I heard the line 

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free. 

On this Christmas Eve he raised his enamelled coffee cup and said : 
"Agnes, we are celebrating Christmas," and drank. I did the same, then 
we both ate peanuts. He placed his cup on the bed beside him, drew a 
mouth-organ from his pocket and first played and then sang the song 
of the United States Marines. He followed this with Ok, How I Hate to 
Get Up in the Morning. Then he laughed and drawled : "Aw, shucks ! I 
remember when I first heard that thing!" 

We both sang a few lines of some Negro spirituals, then tried Silent 
Night, Holy Night, but broke down because we couldn't remember the 
lines. Finally we stood up and sang My Country, 9 Tis of Thee, a song I 

From a musical viewpoint that Christmas Eve was hardly a roaring 
success. But the conversation was not so bad. 



Today I saw a Chinese peasant soldier die. In his death was embodied the 
death of a million men of China who have given their lives that their people might 
not be enslaved. 

All that was known of him was told by another wounded man who had been in 
the same company with him. They had attacked a Japanese position. They did 
not know they were wounded until the battle was ended and they began to return to 
their headquarters. Then they could no longer walk. One foot of each man had 
been pierced by a sharp, spike-like piece of bamboo which {he Japanese had driven 
into the earth around their defences. 

The man lay silently on his bed, and the only thing he ever said was that his 
name was Wu and that he was a peasant by occupation. Every line of his face 
and body was eloquent of anguish. He seemed to be thinking and thinking. Pie 
saw little that passed about him. His mind was centred on some thought beyond. 
The doctor said of him: "He cannot live. He is so under-nourished that he has no 
resistance at all." 

By noon of the third day he closed his eyes for ever. As he had lived, so he died, 
humbly, causing no one trouble. The men on either side of him did not know he 
was dead until men came and carried away his body. Soon his lean form was laid 
in an unpainted wooden coffin and' lowered into a slight depression on a hillside* 
and the ccjftn covered with earth. A narrow, unpainted board bearing his name, the 
date of his death, and the army in whose service he had died was put at his head. . . . 

Soon the rains will soak into the grave, rotting the coffin and the body, and slowly 
the mound will settle. Grass will creep over it, sinking deep roots. And then one 
day some poor peasant child gathering firewood will carry away the little head- 
board. . . . 

It is easy to die in the limelight, knowing a nation will honour you, and your 
life will be used as a model. But this man Wu, and a million others like him, fight 
and die in obscurity. In the future free society of China they will have no share. 
. . . Did they know thai when they picked up a rifle? 

How ugly he was in death and how beautifuV How tragically great the 
common men of China! Their country has offered them nothing but sorrow and 
hunger, cold and suffering. Still they offer their lives for it. They die by the 
thousands on deserted battlefields. Other thousands stagger to the rear, looking 
ruefully at their uncared-for wounds, their eyes searching the mountain paths and 
the highways, yearning for help that never comes. 



1 HE TEN MONTHsfrom December 12, i937>to October 25, 1938, during 
which Hankow was the real capital of China, were months as crqwded 

as decades. Like the mighty Yangtze, which intersected the triple cities 
of Hankow, Hanyang, and Wuchang (generally referred to as Wulhan or 
merely as Hankow), the capital rolled and seethed, a vast maelstrom 
of national and international forces. Against the powerful current of 
the patriotism of soldiers^ common people, and some officials flowed 
the counter-stream of treason, venality, indifference, espionage, and 
international intrigue. 

The fall of Nanking on December 1 2 had made a break in a reactionary 
trend that was unmistakably Fascist, and through this breach had 
poured the democratic people's movement, expressing itself in strengthened 
mass organizations, publications, and celebrations. But as time went pn, 
the reactionary elements began to consolidate their ranks again. Wang 
Ching-wei still held great power in the Government and his followers 
occupied strategic positions in Hankow and other cities. Peace with the 
Japanese, he argued with the Generalissimo, was better than the eventual 
victory of Communism. The Kuomintang banned all youth organiza- 
* tions and ordered all students into the semi-Fascist "San Min Ghu I 
Youth Corps", which was modelled on similar organizations of Italian 
Fascists and German Nazis. Mr. Chen Li-fu, Minister of Education, 
lectured to university students, declaring that they were too valuable to 
be expended in war. Educated men were. told to preserve themselves 
for postwar reconstruction. The Communists had founded their New 
China Daily, and though it preached only national resistance, secret 
gangs of Blue. Shirts broke in at night and damaged its printing-plant. 
Class warfare continued to rage; gentlemen did not take part they 
hired gangsters. 

I also had my own difficulties and conflicts, and the first of these was 
the problem of earning a living. My revolutionary reputation closed all 
doors to employment. Many people held the belief that because I had 
always fought the Terror and advocated civil rights for the people, I 
was a paid Communist agent. On the other hand, the Communists 
believed that all foreigners automatically had means of earning not only 
a living, but a luxurious living. So I was suspended in an economic 
void. For a time I was a house guest of the Reverend Logan Roots, 
Episcopal Bishop of Hankow, and his daughter, Frances. But that could 
not go on indefinitely. The only means I had of solving my economic 
problems was to take a monthly loan from a loyal friend, a Chinese 

My first visit upon reaching the new capital had been with Nelson T. 
Johnson, American Ambassador, to whom I delivered a letter from 
Evans Carlson, then with the Eighth Route Army. I had no clothing 
except my uniform, and in this outfit I called on ojir Ambassador and 
talked with him about the war. He concluded an account of fighting 
in the lower Yangtze by remarking that "the Japanese threw everything 
except the kitchen sink at the Chinese". 


At one point I remarked that if the Japanese conquered China with 
American war materials, they would then turn on America. 

Mr. Johnson made a gesture of disapproval and said : 

"By that time they will be too exhausted !" 

Mr. Johnson was not popular with many Americans in China. They 
called him spineless, but because he was Ambassador they outwardly 
respected him. He wasn't to blame personally he was merely the 
Far Eastern extension of the State Department. His remark to me about 
allowing the Japanese to exhaust themselves on the body of China, 
leaving us free, indicated the policy of all the imperialist Powers 
England, France, the Dutch East Indies, and ourselves. 

There were a few real American and British democrats in the Far 
East who saw the criminal fallacy of such a policy. Some were respected 
because they held high position, but the rest of us were deemed visionaries 
or, at worst, Reds. I was regarded variously as an immoral woman, an 
idealist, or a Red. That didn't worry me in the least. I always re- 
membered that when people had complained to Lincoln that General ' 
U. S. Grant was drunk half the time, Lincoln replied that he wished his 
other generals would also get tight if they could produce the same 

Colonel (now Lieutenant-General) Joseph W. Stilwell, our military 
attache in China, was different. He was tough, gruff, and battle-scarred, 
a direct and honest fighting man. He loved the Chinese soldiers, and his , 
heart was filled with compassion for the wounded. I was forever running 
into him. Once he stopped on a street and demanded of me : 

"What are you doing here?" 

"Loading this truck with medicine. What are you doing?" 

"I'm standing here watching you!" he said, scowling. "I'm also 
telling you that the warehouse of the International Red Cross Com- 
mittee is jammed with a new shipment of medicine including the new 
sulpha drugs. Go right down there this minute and demand some for the 

Following his suggestion, I asked for some of the foreign drugs, but 
as usual was refused. The International Red Cross Committees of 
China had no connection with the International Red Cross of Geneva, 
but were merely local foreign committees, made up primarily of 
missionaries. They received all foreign relief supplies and distributed 
them as they wished, usually to Christian mission hospitals. The Chinese 
armies and the Chinese Red Cross got absolutely nothing, for most 
missionaries believed that all Chinese, particularly non-Christian 
Chinese, were dishonest. They also argued that America* Britain, 
and other nations >yere neutral in the war 'and that supplies from them 
should therefore not be given to Chinese armies. My viewpoint was 
that a wounded soldier is as much a non-combatant as, let us 
say, a civilian air-raid victim; and my blood boiled when I heard 

foreigners talk of all Christians as honest and all non-Christians as 

Another American who way a good deal like Colonel Stilwell was 
Colonel (now Major-General) Claire Chcnnault, one of the most 
striking personalities I ever met, but one whom I never came to know 
well. A reticent, gruff man with a pock-marked face, he seemed to live 
within himself. He was seldom seen in foreign circles; at that time I 
had not yet heard the story that he had been forced out of the American 
Army because of his belief in air power. I lunched with him one day 
in an almost deserted tea-room and felt irritated because I could not 
get at him, could not understand what lay behind that grave, appealing 
exterior. He remarked that he would like to get hold of Chinese mechanics 
because he thought that he could train them to be pilots in half the 
time it took to train gentlemen's sons who had studied philosophy and 
literature and did not like to get themselves dirty. 

Colonel Stilwell was so pessimistic about the whole Far Eastern 
situation that some officers and officials tailed him "Vinegar Joe'* 
which I considered far better than being called spineless. He once re- 
marked to me : "The Chinese soldier is one of the best fighters on earth. 
I would be proud to command such men." 

The other military men, Major (later Colonel) Frank Dorn, and Evans 
F. Carlson, also realized the dangerous situation which was developing 
in China. Dorn was an artillery attache who travelled broadly and 
appreciated China deeply. For some reason or other he was ordered back 
to America, just after he had been told to remain for another three 
years. I wondered why. I even proposed to him that he mutiny and if 
necessary riot in the streets in order to remain in China. He was a 
very handsome, well-bred West Point lad and so disciplined that he went 
home. Before he left we all gave him a fine send-off. I wrote a poem 
addressed to him in the grand manner, and Art Steele of the Chicago 
Daily News read it in a deep and passionate voice. Even in my poem, 
however, I did not betray Dorn's secret : he was a novelist, a painter, 
and, if I'm not mistaken, a musician. 

Soon my other friends began to desert Hankow. Evans F. Carlson 
had returned from the north-western front and was ordered by the 
Navy Department to stop talking. He had been telling about guerrilla 
warfare and, of all things, talking about political and "ethical indoctrina- 
tion" as a weapon in war-time. Perhaps the Navy suspected him of 
Buddhism. But Carlson was not a New Englander and an echo of the 
Battle Hymn of the Republic for nothing. Feeling that it was his duty to 
awaken the American people to the danger of Japan, he forthwith 
resigned from the Navy. Instead of talking mutiny to him, I urged him 
to consider the nature of the capitalist system, which has no use for men 
of principle. I was afraid he might starve in America, where money 
was the standard of success. I was proud to be his friend when he replied : 


"Don't talk to me about economic security ! The only thing that matters 
is am I right?" 

Though few people could help liking Carlson, now and then I heard 
cynical remarks about him. "The poor sap," one correspondent said, 
"he believed everything the Eighth Route Army told him! He's got 
religion I" They brushed aside the fact that he had not merely been told 
things by the Eighth Route. He had seen and lived with that Army. 
Its methods of fighting and its political indoctrination (which he called 
"ethical") might be brushed aside by men who believed in nothing 
except their own personal success, but Carlson was not a man to be 
shaken by such cynics. He had not been educated at West Point or 
Annapolis, and did not shine in the endless round of cocktail, tea, 
dinner and card parties, ball games, races, or golf matches which 
constituted the life of most foreign naval officers in the Far East. He did, 
however, have a number of foreign friends, and Admiral Harry Yarnell, 
commander of the American Asiatic Fleet, seemed to respect him. I 
might add that he himself felt? a deep admiration for Yarnell. 

So Carlson prepared to leave Hankow. At the same time Freda 
Utlcy, the English woman journalist, who was also leaving, soon created 
a scandal in the Hong Kong Rotary Club by^attacking Englishmen who 
supplied Japan with war materials for use against China. The president 
of the Rotary Club afterwards publicly apologized for her "unsports- 
manlike" conduct. 

In those unorthodox days before Hankow fell, the Captain of the 
British Yangtze gunboat patrol invited me to lecture to British officers 
and sailors on the deck of his flagship. I took maps along and did my 
job, but wondered whether the British were awakening or I was slipping. 
The American Navy reassured me by refusing me the same courtesy, 
although they allowed their sailors to learn that I was giving a lecture at 
the Navy .Y.M.C.A. and their officers invited me to the dullest tea I 
have ever sat through. It was a boring life they led, sitting forever on 
little boats on the Yangtze, watching the Japanese raid the city. Admiral 
Marquardt of the American Yangtze patrol once looked me over at 
lunch on his flagship and was astonished to find that I was not so old 
or unprepossessing as he had expected. Perhaps he thought good-looking 
or presentable women were always snatched up by marriage, while the 
ugly ones revenged themselves on society by becoming rebels with 
principles. Or was it his Annapolis training that made him say 
to me : 

"Why on earth does a woman like, you bury herself in that God- 
forsaken north-west with a ragged army? Were yoij in love with a 
Chinese general?" 

"To tell you the truth," I began in a strangled voice, "I once fell in 
love with an Admiral. He turned me down and I went to the north- 
west to forget." 

Annapolis spoke again : "Ah, my dear lady, you fell in love with the 
wrong Admiral !" 

I have forgotten everything else about that luncheon, though I think 
we had hot biscuits. I'm certain I carried on propaganda, for I always 
did that. I really hoped he would give me a big donation for medical 
supplies for the Chinese wounded, but he didn't. I judged men by their 
willingness to fork out money for the wounded. Those who did I re- 
membered; those who didn't I forgot. 

I had much more success with the new British Ambassador, Sir 
Archibald Clark Kerr, who arrived in Hankow about that time. When 
he invited me to dinner, I borrowed a dinner dress from Frances Roots 
and went, expecting to meet some devil of a British imperialist. He didn't 
much resemble a devil, but he certainly had the charm of one. He was a 
lean, brown Scotchman with a keen, tough mind and a scintillating 
sense of humour. In some ways he reminded me of "Vinegar Joe", 
Colonel Ghennault, and Captain Carlson. I liked such men. 

Sir Archibald had invited four other guests to dinner, all men and all 
members of his staff, one of them a monocled military attache who had 
the misfortune to look exactly like an American cartoon of an English- 
man. This blast gentleman said to me: "Chahmcd, I'm sure! We met 
during the Sian Incident, I believe." 

"Oh yes," I answered irritably, "you were up there spying on the Red 

"And you were spying on me !" 

"Naturally!" I answered. 

All the other guests maintained a polite silence until Sir Archibald 
laughed whimsically ; then they all laughed whimsically. 

The dinner was simple but elegant, with a lot of cutlery and glass, 
and my borrowed dinner dress made me feel like someone playing a role 
on a stage. Fortunately there was a war to talk about though Sir 
Archibald needed nothing to make him talk. He was interested in 
guerrilla warfare and the mobilization and training of the common 
people. At the time I wondered if he was really the militant democrat 
he seemed or if he was merely a very clever diplomat. Eventually I 
came to the conclusion that he was a good Scotchman fallen among 

He began talking about the plan of Industrial Co-operatives of which 
Rewi Alley, the New Zealand humanitarian, was the originator. Apart 
from being the father of the co-operatives, Rewi Alley is one of the most 
truly civilized amd tender-hearted of the men who walk this spinning ball 
of mud. If the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang would accept Alley's 
plan, Sir Archibald said, a powerful means would have been found 
to solve China's war-time economy, and the foundation of economic 
democracy would be laid. Someone spluttered that Rewi Alley seemed 
to be something of an illusionist chasing a will-o'-the-wisp. Curtly the 


Ambassador retorted that it might not be a bad idea if some other people 
would also chase a will-o'-the-wisp. 

Sir Archibald soon laid Mr. Alley's plan for co-operatives before 
Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek and pledged British relief 
funds to its support. It was accepted. Dr. Wong Wen-hao, China's most 
famous geologist, who was chairman of its National Resources Com- 
mission, was also deeply interested in the co-operatives. Mr. Alley 
therefore gave up his official position in Shanghai, where he had been a 
factory-inspector, and came up to Hankow to found an economic 
movement which developed into one of the most momentous in Chinese 

Sir Archibald Clark Kcrr had far too much charm for any good use. 
His culture was broad and universal, he dabbled in painting and 
literature, and had begun to study the Chinese language. A friendship 
filled with gay humour, further enlivened by sums of money which he 
gave me for medical supplies, began between us in Hankow and was 
renewed in strange ways and places in later years. He made one of my 
New Year celebrations memorable by sending a case of foreign food, 
cigarettes, and other things to me through the Japanese lines. Like a 
good Scotchman, he enclosed a bottle of old Scotch, some butter, a 
Christmas pudding*, and directions for their preparation. The guerrillas 
thought the concoction atrocious. 


JLAANKOW INTRODUCED ME to the Chinese Red Cross Medical Corps 
and its famous founder and director, Dr. Lim. Thereafter much of my 
life was dominated by work for the wounded. It all came about in this 

Upon arrival in the city, I went in search of a friend, Dr. B. Borcic, 
the noted Yugoslav public-health specialist who had for years been 
health adviser from the League of Nations to the Chinese Government. 
Like many other men of science, he possessed uncommon knowledge 
and had social and artistic interests far beyond his profession. He had 
socialist leanings, was deeply interested in music and the stage, and had 
married an opera-singer to whom he was deeply attached. His friendship 
for me helped make my life bearable during the days of the pre-war 

I found Dr. Borcic living in the Terminus Hotel. He was mo- 
mentarily expecting two Chinese medical men, Dr. P. Z. King, who 
later became director of the National Health Administration, and 
Dr. Robert K. S. Lim, China's most eminent scientist, who had sacri- 
ficed his career and perhaps a Nobel Prize to organize Red Cross work 
in both the Peiping and Shanghai-Nanking areas. Dr, Borcic began 

telling me that now that Nanking had fallen to the enemy, Dr. Lim 
was planning to reorganize the Red Cross Medical Corps on entirely 
new lines. Dr. Lim wanted to create mobile medical units of fifteen 
men or so and attach them to, the various field and base military hospitals 
of the Army, for there were very few qualified doctors in the Army 
Medical Administration. 

I asked him what had happened to the big Red Cross hospital in 
Nanking. He stared at the blank wall for a moment ahd then said 
quietly: "Wiped out!" Hundreds of severely wounded soldiers who 
could not be evacuated had been left in Nanking in the care of Chinese 
doctors and nurses. Chinese and foreigners had still believed that the 
Japanese would honour international law and the Geneva Red Cross 
Convention. But when the Japanese Army occupied the city, they not 
only put to the sword some two hundred thousand civilians and un- 
armed soldiers, but fell upon the hospitals, slaughtering the wounded, 
the doctors, and the nurses. The gruesome story of the rape of Nanking 
was already common knowledge, for a number of diplomatic officials 
and foreign missionaries had remained in the city and watched the 
Japanese in action, and even taken photographs of them. 

Some seven hundred Chinese Red Cross doctors, nurses, dressers, 
chauffeurs, and mechanics had reached Hankow ; many others had been 
slaughtered en route. Of the ambulances and trucks which had left 
Nanking, only seventeen, with half a load of medicine, had reached 

The mass evacuation of Nanking had resulted in unparalleled disaster. 
Sometimes it bepame a fight for life not only against the Japanese, but 
against the Chinese., One Red Cross chauffeur with a truck of medical 
supplies had been stopped by a Chinese Army in retreat and ordered to 
give up his- truck. The chauffeur cursed and bellowed ; in the midst 
of the clash Japanese planes began to bomb them. The Army took 
shelter, but the chauffeur roared happily off towards the west only to 
have his truck bombed out from under him a few hours later. 

Now the Chinese Red Cross had to begin from scratch. The Soyiet 
Union had sent $100,000 to the Chinese Red Cross board of directors 
in Shanghai, and Dr. Borcic was trying to get this money for Dr. Lim 
so that the first mobile medical units could be organized, equipped, and 
sent into the field. 

As Dr. Borcic and I were talking, Dr. King and Dr. Lim entered. 
Dr. King was a tall, handsome man in a black Chungshan uniform; 
Dr. Lim was short and slight, and wore a gtey cotton Red Cross uniform. 
Dr. Lim swung a chair round, straddled it, and began puffing at his 
pipe as he listened to Dr. Borcic report on the Anti-Epidemic Com- 
mission. These doctors intended to train masses of men in anti-epidemic 
woflk. Along with the National Health Administration and the Army 
Medical Administration of the Ministry of War, Dr. Lim was also 

planning to found the first War-time Emergency Medical Training 

At this conference I first heard the name of another man who, like 
Dr. Lim, became my friend. He was Dr. Loo Chih-teh, then field 
inspector of military hospitals at the front, but later Surgeon General 
of the Army Medical Administration. He 'was helping found the first 
Emergency Medical Training-School. He was one of the gentlest and 
loveliest characters I have ever known. He had once studied under 
Dr. Lim in Peiping, then in an American Army medical academy, 
and finally in England. Like Dr. Lim, he never became callous or 
indifferent to the lot of the wounded. I think it was this quality in them 
both that made me love them like brothers. 

This conference in Dr. Borcic's room was not only historic for me 
personally, but it was historic for China. In such meetings the founda- 
tion for socialized medicine in China was being laid. This involved a 
vast organization and an educational system to meet the exigencies not 
only of war, but also of post-war conditions. 

After that I began to meet medical men of every kind, and soon 
found myself involved in the old conflict over socialized medicine. 
For years the leading medical men of China had campaigned for 
socialized medicine. They had been opposed by missionaries, who had 
first introduced modern medicine into China and whose hospitals had 
been powerful bases of Christian endeavour. Socialized medicine would 
rob these hospitals of their power. In fact, educational and medical 
progress in China for many years before the war had seriously im- 
paired missionary activity, and many Christians abroad had begun 
to question the usefulness of missionary activity as a whole. 

The war had inadvertently proved to be a kind of godsend to missionary 
institutions. The large sums of money and medical supplies donated 
by foreign peoples were controlled by International Red Cross Com- 
mittees composed of local foreigners, chiefly missionaries, and missions 
became stations in which countless thousands of civilians found refuge 
from the Japanese. They were fed and housed, and Christianity was 
preached to them. 

Dr. Lim, Dr. Loo Chih-teh, Dr. P. Z. King, and many other modern 
Chinese doctors were baptized Christians. But to them China was a 
battlefield of national liberation, not a battlefield of the Lord. They 
envisaged a future in which health and medical care would be the right 
of every Chinese. 

I believe this was the basic reason that the Chinese Red Cross Medical 
Corps received no foreign medical supplies or funds for over two years 
after its organization. 

Dr. Lim himself had a bitter struggle. 'For years thereafter I heard 
almost every conceivable charge brought against him by both Chinese 
and foreigners. One missionary on the International Red Gross Com* 

mittee of Hankow sourly accused him of liking wine, women, and song 
and of being unable to speak Chinese. Another alleged that he used to 
have all his clothing made in England and his shirts laundered in 
London. An ambitious Red Cross doctor, anxious to take his place 
after the Medical Corps- became a powerful organization, accused him 
of dickering in secret with the Studebaker Corporation and of harbour- 
ing Communists on his staff. I was said to be using the Medical Corps to 
get medical supplies for the Eighth Route Army. 

A lesser man would have left China and gone to England or America, 
where fellow scientists would have welcomed him and given him 
opportunities commensurate with his abilities. But he was a stubborn 
man and his patriotism was deeper than that of his detractors. He had 
given up a great career and an excellent income to accept the chaos 
of war, a maintenance allowance which did not even enable him to 
educate his two children, and the slanderous accusations of his inferiors. 

Dr. Lim's friends called him "Bobby", and did so as if they loved him. 
He spoke fluent English with a slight Scotch accent, and through his 
low, soft voice I heard a warning metallic sound as if his nature was not 
all gentleness. Almost immediately I felt a quality in him which I 
later felt in Dr. Loo Chih-teh: it was a Weltschmer^ or world pain, 
which I have since come to associate with men in advance of their time. 
And the advanced medical men of China are indeed about two or three 
centuries ahead of the social and political conditions of the country. 

Once drawn into the medical world of China, I was soon floundering 
in despair at the hopeless lot of the wounded under the backward 
Army medical system. I shall never cease being grateful to Dr. Lim 
and Dr. Loo for the paticnee with which they explained and argued with 
me, trying to show me China's place in history. For China was and is 
in much the same state as was America during the War of Independence, 
and the lot of its wounded is similar to that of the Russian wounded of 
1 8 1 2 as pictured in Tolstoy's War and Peoce^ or the British wounded during 
the Crimean War when Florence Nightingale appeared on the scene. 
Not that China did not have a number of self-sacrificing medical men 
or a great many Florence Nightingales. 

Over this problem of the Chinese wounded I used to torture myself 
through endless nights. Should I write the truth, or should I throw a 
romantic veil over China's heroism? Sometimes I would say to ftiyself : 
"Listen ! If you write the facts, the neat little souls of Americans and 
Englishmen will be so shocked that they will give no money at all for 
relief; they will jpst go to another movie in which Love solves every- 

Then I would answer myself: "Think of the wounded soldiers. Did 
any government in history ever take one step forward unless under the 
lash of public criticism? If you soft-soap the Chinese Government^ 
even when it is in difficulty, it \vill stagnate. Tell the truth, be hounded 

out of China if necessary. But be loyal to the soldiers who are giving their 
lives while you give little or nothing." 

The pitiful lot of the Chinese wounded was due to the semi-feudal 
military system and a ruling class made up of venal landlords, merchants, 
and politicians. Some of these had been progressive men before they 
had come to power. They were not ignorant or backward about their 
own self-interest. They had known enough to build model villas the 
Japanese now occupied them which they had equipped with every 
modern convenience. They had money enough to satisfy every whim. 
Their sons and daughters studied in American and British universities, 
and after the war began some families fled to America. 

So the ruling class knew well what a modern army medical system 
should be like. But the Chinese Government still paid each individual 
army a set sum of money each month, depending on the number in its 
ranks. With this money, each army was expected to buy its own food 
and clothing and arrange for its own transport. It was expected to use 
only ten cents per man per month to buy medical supplies. Since medical 
supplies and equipment had never been standardized, since the chief 
medical officer was unqualified, and since China had to import almost 
all its medicine, the medical chief bought what he thought best or what 
he could get. As the war progressed, he could get little or nothing, 
and prices kept soaring. Only civilian refugees were entitled to foreign 
medical aid. Chinese soldiers could be wounded by war materials 
supplied to Japan by America and England, but were not entitled to 
medical supplies from these countries unless such supplies were bought 
by the Chinese Government on a purely commercial basis. 

There were perhaps a dozen fairly well-qualified doctors in the entire 
Army Medical Service. But there were 20,000 unqualified men with the 
rank of medical officers, and 180,000 soldier nurses and attendants. 
The soldier nurses had been drawn from the Army and put into medical 
work because they were too weak or incompetent to fight. Their 
medical knowledge consisted of a few weeks of training in changing 
dressings. Like many of the medical officers, they did not know the 
cause or cure of infection and had never seen a splint or a modern 

My ^instinctive reaction was horror and hostility towards the Army 
medical personnel. I retained this attitude until I saw these men in 
service at the front, doing whatever they could. They never deserted 
and they did not regard medical work as a dirty manual labour unworthy 
of them. Millions of sick and wounded men passed through their 
hands along the two-thousand-mile front, and if half of these wounded 
died, at least half lived because of their care. 

One step out of this chaos was taken when, at the beginning of the 
war, the Ministry of War began organizing its own Army Medical 
Administration and establishing some four hundred dressing-stations 

and field and base hospitals. The individual Army hospitals kept their 
own superficially ill and wounded, but surrendered the severe cases to 
these institutions. 

After Dr. Loo Chih-tch became Surgeon General of the Army Medical 
Administration, he and Dr. Robert Lim began to introduce great 
changes. They began the first standardization of medical supplies 
that had ever been undertaken in China. They were the chief forces in 
founding the War-ttme Emergency Medical Training-School in Changsha 
to re-train the entire Army medical personnel ; and they prepared tons 
of sterilized first-aid dressings, with a morphine tablet enclosed in each, 
which the unqualified dressers at the front could apply without trouble. 
In such ways did they fight infection, the great danger at the front. 

But their educational work was the most important thing they under- 
took. vSince the Chinese Government refused to conscript educated men 
for military service, qualified doctors were seldom found in the armies. 
Thousands of them remained in the pori cities or in Japanese-occupied 
regions, engaged in private practice or in missionary hospitals. Even 
had the entire ten thousand of them entered the Army, they still could 
not have solved its problems. So the Medical Training-Schools drew 
batches of hundreds of medical officers from the field and base hospitals 
and the individual armies, gave them intensive basic training, and 
ordered them back to the front to start courses for their unqualified 

The Japanese suffered their first great defeat at Taicrchwang, north 
of Hsuchow, in May 1938, and the Hankow population poured into the 
streets, wild with joy. Up to then China had been beaten into the dust, 
and this one battle, small thdugh it was, inspired the entire nation. I 
met American military observers from the battlefield who told me that 
the northern Chinese armies, up to then regarded as feudal and back- 
ward, had fought with deathless heroism. One of these armies had been 
commanded by the same General Chang Tzc-chung who once had been 
called a traitor. Another w r as commanded by an old northern General 
who was so fat that his guards had to push him up a strategic hill. He 
panted and puffed, but once on top nothing on earth could dislodge 
him. He just stood there like an infuriated fat Buddha, and only when 
the retreat of the Chinese armies began did his guards help him down 
the hill and up another and still another. 

At this time I joined the Red Cross Medical Corps as a publicity 
worker a glorified name for beggar. The Manchester Guardian of Eng- 
land had just arranged for me to work as their special correspondent, 
sending them two mail articles a week work which I continued until I 
left China in J94 1 - The honorarium they paid me enabled me to work 
without payment for the Medical Corps and even to make donations. 
My .first articles were on the condition of the wounded and on the endless 
problems of the Army Medical Service and the Red Cross Medical 


Corps. I also wrote reports to organizations throughout the world 
begging for trucks and ambulances, gasoline, medical and surgical 

Then came a 'day in Changsha when the Medical Corps had just 
two hundred gallons of gasoline left and no money to buy more. An 
American oil company had a supply and was anxious to sell it before 
Japanese bombers destroyed it. At this moment the Scottish Red 
Cross cabled Dr. Lim 750. He stood staring at the'draft, and had he 
been a sentimental man he might have wept. Instead, he began figuring 
how much gasoline it would buy. I rushed off to the oil company and 
arranged the purchase. The oilman incidentally took the trouble to sneer 
at one of my articles in the Manchester Guardian, in which I had charged 
that by selling war materials to Japan, American and British business 
men were digging their own graves. 

"Why shouldn't we sell to anyone who will pay?" the business man 
challenged. "We sell to you, don't we? Why not to the Japanese?" 

Reprobate that I was, I felt that there was some small difference 
between the Red Cross Medical Corps and the Japanese war machine. 
I argued that any nation which permitted buying and selling to determine 
its foreign policy was heading for disaster. I quoted the Tanaka Memorial 
and advised the 'business man to read it, murmuring softly: "That is, 
if you ran read." 

In June 1938 Hsuchow fell to the enemy, and the Chinese armies 
were in full retreat across all central China, taking up new positions 
in the great ring of mountain ranges that surrounded the three Hankow 
cities. The victorious Japanese were in hot pursuit, slaying the Chinese 
wounded and captured soldiers on the battlefield, wiping out Chinese 
towns and villages, and filling brothels with Chinese women. To stop 
them the Chinese blasted the Yellow River dykes, and the flood swept 
down and halted the Japanese, drowning tens of thousands of them. 
The Japanese sent up a cry of Chinese barbarity, and official Chinese 
propagandists began to accuse the Japanese of blowing up the dykes. 
I considered this foolish, recalling the Dutch, who had once broken 
their dykes, proudly saying: "Rather give Holland to the sea than to 
the Spaniards." Indeed, rather give China to the floods than to the 
Japanese ! 

The mountain ranges around Hankow became the last great natural 
barrier protecting central China. A wall of Chinese bodies stood across 
them, but this wall, after all, was only human flesh. The Japanese 
blaste^ their way forward arid, to the south of the Yangtze, "Battered 
at the gates of Nanchang. If captured, Nanchang would menace not 
only Hankow, but Changsha. 

Our few Red Cross units were shifted to hospitals on the most active 
fronts, but there was still no money to support them for more than a 
month or two. Dr. Lim asked me to help him induce wealthy Chinese 

to be responsible for one or more units for at least a year. Dr. T. V. Soong, 
who never failed to help every decent movement, "adopted" eleven, 
and Chinese in Java did likewise. I vainly hoped to induce the American 
Red Cross to be responsible for others. Once I asked Colonel Stilwell in 
Hankow to inspect the Emergency Medical Training-School in Ghangsha 
and help me get money for it. He reviewed our first graduation class of 
a few hundred student men and women ambulance workers, after which 
he and Evans Carlson induced the American Consul General to con- 
tribute $6,000 (Chinese), all the money left in the American Red Cross 
funds. All the rest had been given to the International Red Gross 
Committee and was used to prepare an illusory "safety zone", which 
eventually kept nearly 400,000 Chinese in that doomed city. The 
"safety zone" \yas considered humanitarian, but I considered it nothing 
but a reservoir of labour for the foreign factories of Hankow and the 
Japanese war machine. I knew one foreign factory-owner who intended 
to put his workers in this zone, without cost to himself, and "after Japanese 
blood -lust had cooled", to put them to work again in a Japanese- 
controlled city. 

In the meantime I continued working for the Medical Corps. Each 
month the leaders of Red Gross units *in the field sent in reports, some 
of them dry and factual, but some the stuff from which epic dramas are 
made. One unit on the Kiangsi front told of a field hospital so primitive 
that when the unit first stopped in the doorway of the hospital, some of 
the wounded soldiers greeted it with bricks. The wounded hated the 
title "doctor" and at first accepted treatment sullenly. 

For one week the unit laboured eighteen hours a day, cleaning, 
preparing straw mattresses, organizing a nursing and sanitary system, 
building an operating-room and an operating-table, introducing special 
diets and, to the amazement of the wounded* baths. Before the week 
was ended, every wounded man who could hobble around was asking 
to help. There was not a man who was not humble with gratitude. 
Never again was a brick hurled at a unit. 

The unit next organized training classes for the untrained -hospital 
personnel, and these men were as grateful as the wounded had been. 
Only ten days had passed when a near-by town suffered a fearful air- 
raid, and half of the unit went off to care for the victims. Hardly a night 
passed without the doctors and nurses being called to attend women in 
labour in a large refugee station near the hospital. Eventually they had 
to take over the medical care of the station too. For two years this one 
unit remained in tfie field without once returning to the rear for a rest. 

I went back and forth between Hankow and Changsha, which were 
filled -with tens of thousands of sick and wounded men. Every path 
leading from the front was an endless line of stretcher-bearers, and of 
walking wounded and sick, some of whom crawled off beneath the bushes 
to die. Malaria was decimating the armies, and when Dr. Loo Ghih-teh 


went up to the front, he always loaded his car with all the quinine he 
could find, halted columns of soldiers, and gave each a dozen tablets. 
Whole regiments would lie down during attacks, then rise and fight again 
and again. Telephone communications broke down in some places 
when the operators got "the shakes". 

Every day I saw dust-covered Red Cross trucks and ambulances 
leave their mangled cargoes at hospitals and heard the drivers tell of 
the Japanese planes that machine-gunned and bombed Red Gross cars 
along the highways. Finally no wounded man would ride in any vehicle 
unless the Red Cross insignia on the roof had been blotted out with 

One day in Changsha I saw a Chinese woman doctor, her face grey 
and desperate, roll in from a front where she had led a unit of women 
doctors and nurses. They had been bombed out of three hospitals 
within two weeks and all their supplies and equipment had been de- 
stroyed. She had seen one Red Cross truck machine-gunned on the road 
ahead of her, and even caught a glimpse of the grinning face of the pilot 
in the cockpit above. By the time night fell, this woman was on her way 
back to the front with more supplies. 

Another time I saw a young Chinese doctor, originally from Trinidad 
in the West Indies, drive in. He spoke only English, and we called him 
"Blimy". "Chief," he said to Dr. Urn, "look what the soldiers do to us !" 

He produced a photograph which he had taken at the front. A Red 
Cross ambulance stood on the road surrounded by hundreds of wounded 
men standing or lying down. It was loaded and the lightly wounded 
had clambered onto the roof. Some had even crowded into the chauffeur's 
seat. The driver was standing in front of them, his arms uplifted, pleading 
desperately. This was a not uncommon scene. Wounded men would 
lie down on the highway to prevent the trucks from leaving them behind. 

Dr. Lim listened and said: "Poor devils!" 

"Chief," Blimy pleaded, "I'm dead tired! I've performed exactly 
one thousand operations at the front. Can't I take a little rest?" 

"I know, laddie," Dr. Lim replied. "But you're young and strong. 
The soldiers can't stop fighting. Go back, and as soon as possible I'll 
give you a rest." 

Blimy said : "O.K., chief," and returned to the front. 

Dr. Loo Chih-teh was then occupied with the organization of rest- 
feeding stations along all the routes from the front to the rear. He was 
constructing low bamboo sheds every ten miles and was trying to have 
young civilian men in each station to change dressings and prepare food 
for the walking sick .and wounded. His plan also embraced civilian 
refugees, since they were suffering from malnutrition and from them 
the future soldiers must come. When I heard this plan, I went off im- 
mediately to the Chinese Y.M.C.A. in search of a young Christian war- 
worker, Liu Liang-moh. Mr. Liu listened and then returned with me to 

Red Cross* headquarters. Within a week he and a group of young 
Y.M.C.A. men and women had taken over many stations on the route 
to the front. 

I delivered to Liu Liang-moh many huge crates of prunes and raisins 
which had arrived from America. These had been nine months on the 
way, and half of them were spoiled. The flat roof of the Y.M.C.A. 
was soon blanketed with prunes drying in the sun. I opened some cases 
myself and spent days throwing out the rotten fruit. To save the good 
ones, I conceived the idea of drying them in three portable delousing 
stations in Red Cross headquarters. When I had triumphantly finished 
this task, a young doctor came storming into our office one day, shouting : 

"Three of our delousing stations are ruined ! The holes in the metal 
trays are clogged with something sticky !" 

"I dcloused prunes in them for the rest-feeding stations of Dr. Loo{" I 

"You deloused prunes !" 

"Yes, sir," I admitted feebly. 

But when the Y.M.C.A. workers rolled off to the front, their Red 
Cross trucks were stacked with cases of dried fruit for tfce sick and 
wounded, and gay banners nailed to the sides of the trucks announced 
that these were "comfort gifts from America to our national heroes". 

Changsha was a vast military hospital packed with masses of wounded 
lying under every conceivable kind of shelter. Tens of thousands were 
without any but the most rudimentary care, for all tut three Red Cross 
units were at the front. Boats, carts, and trucks began evacuating 
thousands from Chanjsha to make room for those pouring in. From 
Hankow alone forty thousand wounded were evacuated to the west 
in the last weeks before the city fell. 

In the middle summer months, when the Yangtze Valley steamed with 
heat, the Red Cross Medical Corps gained one of its most valuable 
foreign volunteers. This was an English woman, Mrs. Hilda Selwyn- 
Clarke, wife of the Medical Director of the Hong Kong Government. 
We had long carried on a friendly correspondence; finally she came 
to Hankow by plane. She was a handsome woman with flaming chest- 
nut hair and liquid brown eyes. Her husband's position in the Hong 
Kong Government gave her prpstige and authority, and to this she added 
*a tremendous organizing ability gained in the labour movement of 
England. Her horror at conditions in the Chinese hospitals generated 
in her, not hostility, but an iron determination to use all her ability and 
influence on behalf pf China. 

She flew back to Hong Kong and founded the Foreign Auxiliary of the 
Chinese Red Cross, which became the Hong Kong agency for the Red 
Cross Medical Corps. She built up a network of international aid, and 
organized an intricate system for getting medical transport through the 

Japanese lines* She turned Chinese refugee stations in Hong Kong 
into centres of Red Cross activity where women and girls rolled bandages 
and made sheets and surgical aprons. She stood at her post until Hong* 
Kong was attacked, and then took her place among the* medical workers 
defending Hong Kong to the last. 

When the fate of Hankow was sealed, Dr. Lim welcomed my suggestion 
for evacuating educated youth from Hankow and recruiting them for 
the Red Cross Medical Corps. He placed me in charge of this a 
charge which, like everything else in China, seemed filled with almost 
insoluble problems. 

One report which I made at this time covered a conference I had 
with the American Consul-General in which I had submitted a six-point 
programme for American Red Cross aid to China. The first point asked 
for a liaison officer of the American Red Cross to be stationed in China 
to Supervise American aid. Another asked that the American Red 
Cross supply trucks and gasoline and support seventeen mobile Chinese 
Red Cross medical units at the front. My report concluded : 

"The American Consul-General considers these proposals very good 
and, following his suggestion, I am sending one copy to the American 
Red Cross jn Washington D.C., and another to the new American 
Bureau for Medical Aid to China. American newspaper correspondents 
are supporting this plan." 

The Vice-chairman of the American Red Gross in Washington 
eventually answered my six-point proposal with a letter which concluded 
with these words : 

"The data you present are most interesting and appealing, and we 
are, of course, sympathetic with the efforts yoif are making to bring 
relief to the wounded. However, the funds which the American Ad- 
visory Committee is handling were raised specifically for civilian relief, 
as you will note in the enclosed letter. ..." 

The Yangtze rose higher and higher and Hankow became a city of 
merciless contrasts. Patriots exploited all the resources of their being in 
defence of their country, while traitors bided their time, banqueting 
and whoring until they could form a puppet government for the enemy. 
The German military advisers were ordered home by Hitler, who acted 
on demands from the Japanese, and foreign embassies began to watch 
with eagle eyes to see if Soviet military advisers would take their places. 
Everyone began to spy on everyone else. A group of White Russians 
working for the Japanese were arrested ; then they were permitted to 
leave for Hong Kong. The Italian Consulate was krown to be in radio 
communication with the Japanese, and the chief of the Nazi Gestapo, 
jiosing as a free-lance journalist, came regularly from Shanghai, sat in 
on all Press conferences, and interviewed officers. 

Madame Chiang Kai-shek and her women followers were gathering 

thousands of war orphans from the war zone. One day I went into their 
headquarters just as another train-load of these ragged, lice-ridden, 
half-starved children were being brought in. Dozens of women were 
shaving their heads, bathing and feeding them, and dressing them in 
fresh blue denim overalls. Long lines of these little tots were then 
marched through the streets to waiting boats or junks which transported 
them to the west. 

By order of Generalissimo Chiang, factories were being dismantled 
and carried or shipped to the rear, and Madame Chiang organized 
thousands of factory workers and their families for evacuation. Making 
use of these workers. Rewi Alley, the New .Zealander, along with 
Chinese engineer colleagues, began building industrial co-operatives. 

The air-raids were a physical horror and, to me at least, a spiritual 
humiliation. Every day and every moonlit night we would hear the 
dreadful wail of sirens. Then the city would begin to drum with the sound 
of the feet of thousands trying to reach the two foreign concessions. 
Foreign banks, hotels, and business houses barred their doors lest the 
Chinese take refuge in them, dirty the floors, or perhaps steal something. 
The two or three great foreign warehouses which had been prepared by 
foreign firms as air-raid. shelters were soon packed. Other thousands of 
Chinese men, women, and little children lay down against the cement 
walls or prostrated themselves along the river bank. I lived in a small 
foreign hotel in the French Concession which had broad halls and an 
enclosed garden; but the owner closed the steel gates and turned deaf 
ears to the pleas of Chinese mothers with babies in their arms. Even the 
Chinese coolie who pulled the landlady's ricksha was not permitted into 
the building. With his wife hovering near and his baby in his arms, 
he would cower beneath his pitiful ricksha. 

I was often caught in the Chinese city, and would rush back to the 
foreign concession. Seeking shelter, I would go up to the door of some 
foreign bank. The men inside would open to me, but not to a Chinese. 

After each raid the city was full of the mangled bodies of victims; 
sometimes I worked in a Chinese railway hospital where hundreds lay 
on the floors bleeding to death. People died under our hands. I found 
myself growing coldly impersonal selecting soldiers and workers who 
had only minor injuries and could be most quickly restored to fighting 

Through the streets of the doomed city marched endless lines of gcaye-^ 
eyed soldiers. They were moving in to the mountains to jj 
where every town and village was a heap of ruins, f& 
strewn with the bodies of the unburied dead. Boat^n&iifiks tied up t<K 
the bund each day, and on their decks maimed An#p lay in their own* 
blood and excrement without a soul to care foi/theM oten$terWFtre 
walking wounded made their slow, painful wa^jjtiTOugn 'me f$retts |p 
search of some designated hospital. They would! W^ a fioclr&r two, 
F (China) \A\ ~ 

then sit or lie down on the pavements until able to go farther. Crowds 
pouring from moving-picture theatres would pass, some hardly glancing 
at the prostrate figures. Day after day I watched the theatre crowds, 
and not one among them ever halted and offered to help. 

Time and again I would commandeer rickshas and load them with the 
wounded, then storm into the office of the Surgeon General of the Army 
Medical Administration. In answer to my protests the old Surgeon 
General would throw up his hands and reply : 

"I have no power. I can only obey orders from above ; I can initiate 
nothing ! I wish the Generalissimo would court-martial and shoot me ! 
As it is, all I get is kicks. The only consolation I have is that I am being 
kicked by my countrymen instead of by the enemy !" 

I had done my part in attempts to induce foreign medical volunteers 
to come to China and work under the same conditions and at the same 
pay as the Chinese. When the war began, Mao Tze-tung and I had 
appealed to Americans to send surgeons to the Eighth Route Army. 
Before I left the north-western front, Chu Teh and I wrote to the 
Indian National Congress, asking it to send qualified doctors to serve 
all the Chinese armies. 

A group of three medical workers came from America, including the 
well-known Canadian, Dr. Norman Bethune. We had to ask one to 
leave the country because he was drunk all the time. After many delays, 
Dr. Bethune, along with Dr. Richard Brown, a missionary volunteer, 
left for Wutaishan. In December 1939, just before his planned return 
to America, Dr. Bethune died of septicaemia. 

In the late summer before Hankow fell, the first group of five Indian 
surgeons, all members of the Indian National Congress, arrived in 
Hankow and joined the Red Cross Medical Corps. They were asked by 
the British Consul-General to join the International Red Cross Committee 
instead. The Consul-General explained that in this way they would 
always be kept supplied with anything they might need and would 
work in well-equipped missionary hospitals. As an additional induce- 
ment he told them that in case of capture by the Japanese, they would 
not like the Chinese be killed, for the Committee had reached an 
agreement to this effect with the Japanese. To these arguments Dr. 
Atal, leader of the Indian Medical Mission, replied : "All you say proves 
that our place is with the Chinese." 

After serving in the military hospitals of Hankow, the Indian doctors 
evacuated with units of the Medical Corps to the west. In Chungking 
they met and talked with Generalissimo and Madame Chiang and other 
leaders, then left for the Eighth Route Army; two of them arc still in 
charge of medical work among flying guerrilla columns in north China. 
''Javfraharlal Nehru was primarily responsible for the Medical Mission 
to (China. Wlien he formed the first China Medical Committee of the 

Indian National Congress, hundreds of men and women doctors and 
nurses registered as volunteers for China. The Congress had enough 
money to finance, equip, and supply only five men in its initial group. It 
had already initiated "China days" and called for the boycott of 
Japanese goods throughout India. 

Since I was in charge of this Indian group, and kept the Congress 
informed of the progress of the war and of China's needs, I was able to 
see the sharp lines that divided the Indians from other foreign doctors. 
They were as political in outlook as they were scientific in training, 
and they came not only to serve the Chinese wounded, but to study a kind 
of warfare which they might one day be forced to use in India. They 
were not only Indian nationalists, but anti-Fascists with a strong socialist 
bent. They regarded every action of the British with suspicion, and 
repeatedly warned the Chinese that the British might betray them at any 

The only similarity between the Indians and other foreign doctors 
was their horror at conditions in military hospitals. They had been 
trained in Indian medical institutions, where their every need had been 
met, and as men of the middle class they had been accustomed to 
comfort, servants, and hospital attendants. They soon learned to accept 
the primitive conditions of China, though the older men returned to 
India after two years, leaving the younger ones to merge themselves 
completely with China's war of liberation. 


JL HERE WAS NOT an hour of any day or night that death and destitu- 
tion were not about us in Hankow death in the ugly form of sickness and 
mangled bodies; and destitution so deep that life itself sometimes 
seemed a kind of disease. Over and beyond this death-agony of a city 
hovered the supreme heroism of the armies cast in high relief by 
treason in high places. Down in Shanghai the British Ambassador once 
told the Japanese that only the riff-raff of China would help them build 
their puppet "Central Government". The Japanese coolly answered 
that they were dealing with some of the highest officials in the Chinese 
Government and mentioned the name of Wang Ching-wei. 

Out of this confusion of death and life there began to grow the most 
unusual friendships I had ever known. Our small group of foreign 
correspondents who were friends of China, along with consular and 
military men of similar minds, and a few Chinese, drew close to each 
other, searching each other's hearts and minds for the best way of life 
for all humanity. Our old values seemed to vanish and we lost regard 
for material things, for no one knew whether there would be a to- 
morrow. We were like passengers on a ship foundering in a stormy sea 


who at last had found their humanity and clung to each other with that 
love that "passeth all understanding". In the tense atmosphere of war 
even poetry, song, and wit blossomed among us and a magical glow shone 
over our friendship. 

Members of this group kept departing or returning from all fronts, and 
each reunion was a cause for celebration. We all worked without regard 
for time, atid day and night became one to us. Often, when unable to 
endure my thoughts after going through an air-raid or seeing the endless 
lines of wounded soldiers pouring through the city, I would go at any 
hour to seek the comfort of these friends. Two or three of us would 
stand beneath the dark window of another friend of ours and clap. A 
sleepy head would be thrust out to ask: "What's up?'* And we would 
call : "Conversation. Come down." Our friend would wrap a bathrobe 
around him and come down to sit in a garden and talk of things that 
seemed portentous. 

Almost all foreign wives and children, and the wives and children of 
Chinese officials and the well-to-do, had been evacuated from Hankow. 
An occasional American woman, well groomed and wearing a hat, 
would arrive to write feature articles about women it was amazing that 
American women had not advanced beyond that stage. A few serious 
foreign writers flew in and out in the course of gathering information : 
Edgar A. Mowrer and Vernon Bartlett from England, John and Frances 
Gunther "from south-east Asia, and Edgar Snow from the Philippines. 
An English woman who had formerly worked for Spain arrived and 
became very indignant because a crowd had not met her at the air- 
drome. She insisted on emergency airplane reservations in case she 
should want to leave Hankow at a moment's notice, because, she ex- 
plained to me, she was too important to be killed in China. Both then, 
as before and later, many freebooters in the journalistic and camera 
world arrived and used the China war as a background for their own 
personal glory. They were as filled with physical energy and as empty of 
ethics or social consciousness as, let us say, an American steel or oil 
magnate busily making a fortune by supplying Japan with war materials. 

The Germans and Italians in Hankow flocked together. It was 
common knowledge not only that German correspondents were con- 
nected with the Gestapo, but that they exchanged information with the 
Japanese. The new Italian Ambassador to China did not even trouble 
to appear in Hankow or Chungking, but spent his time with the Japanese 
and their puppets along'the coast, in Japan or in "Manchukuo". The 
French were a race apart, weak, degenerate, cynical; and their cruel 
and corrupt administration of Indo-China was a shocking by-word in the 
Far East* A perfect representative of the decadent section of the British 
ruling class was one Gunboat Patrol officer whom I knew. He painted 
weak water-colours of which he was very proud talked sex, and was 
always exceedingly well preserved in alcohol* He once told me of his 

well-greased pathway through life, from his little velvet-suit and golden- 
ringlet years through an expensive public school, until he landed, without 
any effort whatever, in the naval command. He had never had a 
struggle in his life, least of all with a thought. I asked him if he had not 
been bored stiff, but he insisted that he had found life delightful. When 
the Japanese occupied an important Chinese city, he did not resist, but 
in his best old-school-tie manner smilingly surrendered the British Con- 
cession to them. 

The foreigners of Hankow had induced many Chinese and a few 
foreigners to pay for huge wooden gates leading into the former British 
Concession "to keep out the Japanese" ! Shortly after the British Con- 
cession had been turned over to the Japanese, I heard Captain Stennes, 
an ex-Nazi and the chief of Generalissimo's Chiang's bodyguard, 
exclaim : "The British Empire is finished !" 

The missionaries had their own pious circles. Though the Lutheran 
Guest House, which housed foreign correspondents and Red Cross 
workers, refused to rent me a room saying I was immoral I was often 
intimately involved with them because of their medical and relief work. 
The younger missionaries were progressive and divinely discontented, 
and some of them often in conflict with .their elders. Such young people 
did not look on China merely as a "heathen land to be converted", but 
sympathized with it. However, I believe I have never, anywhere or in 
any profession, met more viciously reactionary or bigoted men than 
among some of the elderly foreign missionaries. Many of them sup- 
ported Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek for no other 
reason than that they were Christians through whom missionaries might 
eventually convert all China. Think of a church in each Chinese village, 
with jobs for every foreign and Chinese pastor and their families, and 
not an atheist in sight to keep alive a little spiritual integrity! I heard 
serious-minded foreign newspaper correspondents call one sinister, 
ambitious missionary the "Father Rasputin of China". 

The attitude of Chinese and foreign Christians towards Pearl Buck 
was an interesting one. Among them she was noted not only for her 
books on China, but because she had left her church, divorced a husband, 
and married a second time. As many political parties often attack 
former members, so the missionaries looked askance on Pearl Buck. 
They hinted that she would deteriorate, and when she obviously did not, 
they were much put out. 

Many Chinese disliked Pearl Buck's books because she did not always 
show her characters dressed in their Sunday best. A Chinese colonel once 
announced to a friend of mine that Pearl Buck was "finished" because 
she wrote an article about the Eighth Route Army, calling it "Guns for 
China's Democracy". She was henceforth isolated from China, he 
declared, washed up. What nonsense! Such were the rumours that 
hateful people spread about Pearl Buck. 


Like the moon that turned night into day and enabled the Japanese 
planes to bomb sleeping populations; like Wang Ching-wei, who 
negotiated with the approaching enemy ; so did the Yangtze River turn 
traitor to the land of its birth. The mighty river rose higher and higher 
and enemy vessels of war blasted their way towards Hankow, preparing 
the way for their land troops. 

In late September the National Military Council issued orders for the 
evacuation of Hankow. In the second week of October I left with Dr. 
Robert Lim and a woman Red Cross doctor, and five of us set up cots in 
Dr. Lim's small house in Changsha. After the fall of Hankow would 
come the fight for Changsha. 

When the last Chinese trucks had left Hankow, Chinese troops began 
blowing up the roads and bridges connecting the city with Changsha. 
As the last Chinese military groups left, they set off dynamite charges in 
all buildings in the old Japanese Concession. The city roared and 
trembled. The Chinese also planned to blast Japanese-owned buildings 
in other parts of the city, but foreigners went through and cut the fuses, 
determined to protect their property to the last. After all, China was not 
their country. 

Every night we left our Red Cross headquarters in Changsha and 
reached home in time to hear the news broadcasts from Hong Kong. 
When Canton fell without a struggle in the middle of October, it was like 
a drink of bitter gall to the Chinese. On the night of October 25 we 
hovered around the radio and heard a voice say : 

"Hankow fell to the Japanese today. Japanese warships anchored in 
the river. The Italian Consul General waited on the bund, and when the 
. first naval officers landed, he shook hands and congratulated them on 
their victory. As Japanese troops marched through the city, White 
Russian and other dancing-girls on Dump Street distributed cigarettes 
to them. Japanese soldiers began rounding up groups of Chinese, driving 
them before them to the river-banks, where they pushed them in with 
their rifles and then shot those who struggled. . . ." 

The voice went on and on, finally fading away. Dr. Lim was bending 
over the radio, his back to me, and from this position he did not move. 
As if turned to stone, Dr. Loo Chih-teh stood before the open window, 
staring into the night. On either side of me were two women doctors, 
Jean Chiang and Eva Ho Tung, their eyes fixed on the radio. There was 
an interminable silence in which I could almost hear the universe tick. 

"What now?" Eva Ho Tung asked bitterly. 

Slowly Dr. Lim straightened up and without turning, answered : "We 
will continue to fight. Our Army is not broken." 

The silence lapped about us again. Then from the night I seemed to 
feel some approaching menace, but before I could speak, the long mourn- 
ful wail of the air-raid siren sounded, sickening me. The lights went out, 
and through the darkness we heard the roar of the awakened city and 

the humming of trucks and cars rushing into the country. All of us went 
out on the veranda and stood with our hands on the railing, our faces 
turned in the direction of the throbbing menace. 

We heard the planes circle, as if searching. 

"They can find nothing," Dr. Lim said in a low voice. 

Time and again they roared nearer, then faded away. We went to our 
rooms and lay talking until dawn, then rose and Went to work again. 


1 HE AMBULANCE TRUCK of the New Fourth Army, on which eight 
persons including myself were travelling, ground to an abrupt stop. We 
leaped out and fled into the hills, and as we fled, the droning black 
specks in the pallid eastern sky grew into roaring monsters. The Japanese 
pilots deliberately flew low, as if scoffing at us, mocking our impotence. 

In how many ditches of China had I not prostrated myself before the 
god of Japanese imperialism and American greed! Numberless air- 
raids had taught me no bravery. Each deathlike wail of a siren, each 
beating gong from a hillside, clanging bell, or staccato warning of a 
bugle, caused my heart to constrict. 

Again the planes. But this time they droned on towards Changsha. 
It was October 29, 1938, and I was on my way to the enemy rear along 
the lower Yangtze. After Canton and Hankow had fallen, Generalissimo 
Chiang Kai-shek had called to all Chinese in the enemy rear to fight with 
every means in their power. The Japanese lines were now drawn out long 
and thin along the main routes of communication, and on their flanks 
and in their rear was a vast territory still in Chinese hands. 

I had urged Dr. Lim to send medical workers and supplies to the 
enemy rear, but he had replied that we knew nothing of conditions there, 
nor whether medical units could function and be kept supplied. I there- 
fore made arrangements to make a tour of investigation, combining my 
work for the Manchester Guardian with that of the Red Cross, to which I 
would send reports. 

The highway along which we travelled eastwards was in the active 
zone. Divisions of khaki-clad soldiers marched rapidly towards Nan- 
chang, and groups of Xvounded poured in from the battlefield along the 
southern banks of the Yangtze. Armed sentries guarded the approaches 
to every town and village. 

At the end of tfce first day we halted in a small village and put up at a 
primitive wayside inn. After a night made sleepless by mosquitoes and 
bed-bugs, I rose at dawn and went outside to find a group of thirty 
wounded soldiers sitting or lying by the roadside. They had just come 
out of the no man's land along the Yangtze a strip of territory fifty to 
one hundred miles in depth on both sides of the great river. There the 


Chinese armies were destroying all roads and paths that could be used 
by Japanese mechanized equipment. Chinese still fought there, but the 
N walking wounded could not pass through in less than two weeks. 

The thirty wounded soldiers were gaunt and weary, their wounds 
infected, their uniforms threadbare and faded from months of exposure. 
Some were barefoot, and their arms, legs, and feet were bound with 
bloody, dirty bandages which had not been changed for days. Since 
they had not yet entered a hospital, they had not received their ten- 
dollar wound bonus and only a few possessed enough money to buy even 
roasted chestnuts. Those able to hobble about were carrying cups of 
boiled water to their weaker comrades. 

I hauled out some of the sterilized dressings and a case of supplies 
from our ambulance. Both the ambulance and the truck were loaded 
with supplies which I had collected for the New Fourth Army, the chief 
guerrilla army in the rear of the enemy along the lower Yangtze. To 
the Red Cross and people's contributions, I had added bales of face- 
towels, bolts of bandage cloth and gauze, and, out of my own funds, 
cases of soap and quinine. With the help of my secretary I set up a 
wayside dressing-station and began caring for the thirty wounded 
, soldiers. 

At another point our engine balked and we halted near a small mud 
hut while the chauffeur tinkered with it. As usual, civilians gathered, 
asking forquinine. Malaria was a scourge affecting everyone. An old man 
came out and looked at our ambulance with its big Red Cross insignia 
and the inscription which announced that it came from the "Chinese 
Laundrymen's Union, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A." 

"My daughter is very sick/* the old man said humbly. "Can you give 
me medicine?" 

I took my first-aid kit and went into the hut. It had two small, dark 
rooms ; Jthe only light came from the door. There was a board bed across 
trestles in each room, and in one there was also a crude, unpainted table 
and benches. In a corner was a small clay stove and three or fouf 
cooking-pots. A few primitive agricultural implements stood against the 
mud wall. 

In the inner room lay a girl under a pile of ragged padded quilts. 
After I had administered quinine and instructed the girl's old mother 
in its use, the aged couple placed a few peanuts and a tea-bowl of hot 
water before my secretary and me. 

Around the head of the old lady was a cotton cloth draped like a 
bonnet and dyed with native herbs in a sort of batik pattern, and on her 
feet were colourful woven sandals. The peasants of Kiangsi, like those of 
Szechuen and Yunnan, have preserved a folk-art which sprouts even in 
the direst poverty. I recalled the beautiful sandals woven by the soldiers 
of the Eighth Route Army and wondered if any sons of this family were - 
with that Army. 
1 68 

Through the open door I could see one of the many block-houses 
which dotted the mountain tops or guarded the highways approaching 
all large towns. Relics of a decade of civil war and a fear of revolution, 
these forts were designed by the German General von Seeckt when he 
was chief military adviser to the Chinese Government. They were 
utterly useless against the Japanese, but if the enemy should capture 
them, they could be used against the badly equipped Chinese. 

At last I was abl to ask the old peasant couple if they had any sons. 

"Four. Two are fighting in the Army." The old man waved a hand 
in the general direction of the Yangtze. 

"And the other two?" I asked. 

"We do not know," the old man answered after a pause. 

I sipped the hot water and thought of this family, gutted of all its 
sons. . . . When the sons of the poor have saved China, the rich will 
return, I thought. 

Nanchang was a city tensed like a bow-string against the enemy. 
The Canton Army still stood at Tehan to the north-west, where it had 
fought for 'months. Each night heavily laden ammunition trucks groaned 
up towards the front and battalions of stretcher-bearers began bringing 
in the wounded. Four thousand wounded a week were pouring through 
the nine receiving stations of Nanchang. The severe cases were sorted 
out and carried to the field and base hospitals in the city or to the rear. 

On the night of our arrival we found the city decorated brilliantly, 
and columns of singing soldiers, their weapons clanking, marching with 
fierce, measured tread : the city was celebrating the birthday of Generalis- 
simo Chiang, who had just arrived for a military conference. But since 
the tentacles of the Japanese secret service reached everywhere, we had 
Sllso arrived in time for devastating air-raids. In the two days and nights 
we remained in the city, Nanchang rocked with bombs that spared 
nothing. Each time we emerged we picked up chunks of bomb fragments 
which lay scattered about the courtyard and the frail dugout in which we 
had all taken shelter. 

On the night of our arrival I crossed the street from the local office 
of the New Fourth Army where we were staying and, unannounced, 
entered one of the largest receiving stations for the wounded. I expected 
to find the usual cruelly primitive institution, but found instead one which 
heralded the dawn of a new spirit. 

The halls of the four-storied building were spotless, and the walls were 
decorated with colourful posters, banners, and wall newspapers. Across 
one wall hung a red-and-white banner which read : Millions of hearts with 
one mind. 

The building sheltered eight hundred wounded, each with a board 
bed, a mattress of rice straw, a pillow, sheet, padded quilt, and mosquito 
net. Watchful male nurses moved along the aisles. 

F 2 169 

Wandering unattended, we heard distant music and went towards it. 
In the middle of a huge ward sat two poorly dressed women folk-singers 
and a man with a Chinese violin such as one often heard in tea-houses. 
One of the women stared vacantly before her, pouring out her soul in 
some old song, and as we drew near we saw that she was blind. Some of 
the wounded were propped up, their eyes fixed in space ; and so absorbed 
were they all that not one noticed our approach. 

\Ve wandered farther and came to a ward in which many men with 
minor wounds sat on the edge of their beds or walked about, talking and 
laughing with uniformed students. One of the students approached us 
and, speaking in English, introduced his group as a branch of the Kiangsi 
Anti-Enemy War Service Association, which, he explained, worked in the 

The superintendent of the receiving station found me some time 
around midnight, welcomed me enthusiastically, and began to explain 
his work. While we talked, the first lot of wounded arrived from the 
front. Members of the War-Time Service Corps welcomed the wounded 
as heroes and gave each new arrival a small cloth bag containing face- 
towel, soap, fruit, and cigarettes, talked with him, and offered to help in 
writing letters. 

The following day, as soon as another dreadful air-raid was over, I 
went through smoking streets to the rogth Base Hospital, where a Red 
Cross medical unit worked. The building had formerly been a school. 
Over the entrance stretched a long painting of men of every class 
marching in one direction. Beneath were the Chinese words : Follow in 
the bloody footsteps of our martyrs. Avenge the death of our people. 

The Chinese, as I had long since learned, put their hearts into such 

The hospital was organized much like the receiving station, and the 
same people's organization worked in it. Dr. Liu, the young superinten- 
dent, introduced two volunteers : an elderly woman and her eighteen- 
year-old daughter, both of them pious Christians. They purchased and 
directed the preparation and serving of food. At meal-times they went 
from ward to ward, bending gently over beds to ask soldiers if the food 
was satisfactory. An atmosphere of kindliness and warmth permeated 
the hospital. 

Dr. Liu told me that just as the last air-raid had begun, the Red Cross 
surgical unit had been performing a major operation, and even when the 
bombs fell about the building, they had not faltered. We donned white 
aprons and caps and entered the operating-room. A wounded man lay 
on the table, and at his head sat an American doctor administering an 
anaesthetic. Over the wounded man bent the frail body of a Chinese 
woman surgebn, amputating a leg. Until they had finished, neither she 
nor her associates looked up ; when she took off her mouth-mask, I saw 

that she was Dr. Ma, head of a volunteer unit of Chinese medical workers 
from Hong Kong. Dr. Ashland, another physician, was the only 
American volunteer in the Medical Corps. Without any fanfare he had 
arrived three months before, joined up, and left immediately for this front. 

The doctors and nurses prepared rapidly for another operation. A 
young soldier was brought in on a stretcher. I bent over him and saw 
that blood was gushing from his mouth. His eyes, filled with the con- 
sciousness of death, looked up into mine. 

As I left the hospital, I halted at the entrance, intending to tell Dr. Liu 
what I felt about his hospital. No words came. I felt his hand tighten 
over mine and I lifted my other hand and placed it over his. 

Two days later our party was whirling eastwards again. Our truck 
and ambulance rolled nearer and nearer to one of the active Yangtze 
battlefields, and the highway became an endless procession of fresh 
troops moving up and exhausted troops retiring. We spent the night in 
the ancient town of Kingtehchcn, famous for its pottery for nearly a 
thousand years. Martial law ruled the town, for the front was just over 
the mountain ranges to the north, and agents of the Japanese, clad as 
monks, beggars, refugees, or business men, crawled through the country. 

After the wounded in the poor local hospital, what interested me most 
in Kingtehchen were labour and social conditions, and of these the few 
owners and master potters of the great potteries who remained in the 
town spoke freely. They seemed utterly unconscious of the feudal nature 
of their industry. Little boys of seven or eight, they explained, were 
apprenticed to master potters, who housed and fed them. The owners 
paid the apprentices one dollar a month, through the master potter, who 
kept twenty cents of each dollar as "compensation for teaching the 
craft". With the remaining eighty cents the apprentice tried to meet all 
his needs. 

A master potter might have ten to fifteen apprentices, who remained 
jhay tso "confined by a belt" until their families bought their freedom 
and they became master potters. Many boys remained jhay tso for ten or 
more years, and we talked with young men in their twenties who had 
mastered the craft years before but had not yet been able to buy their 
freedom. They could mould about two hundred pieces of pottery a day. 
The products of their labour were sold by the master potter to the firm. 

Though the apprentices were a source of income to the master potter, 
it was not he who accumulated wealth. One master potter told us that 
in good years he^ had been able to earn eight hundred Chinese dollars 
a year, but since *the war only twenty. It was the owner of the kilns who 
grew rich. The owner explained enthusiastically that, before the war, 
pottery was the most profitable investment in the country. He had a 
friend who had come from the north with only $2,000, but at the end of 
two years was able to show a profit of $200,000. 


If an apprentice had a family, they might accumulate enough money, 
of secure a loan from a money-lender, which they would present to the 
master potter as a "gift**. If it was accepted they gave a feast to the 
master, and the apprentice was at last freed. Free potters told us the 
greatest amount they could earn in a month was twelve dollars, but 
the usual wage was six. 

I asked the owner of a number of kilns, whose finished products were 
displayed in a big shop, about the health of the apprentices. With some- 
thing like amused pride, he explained that apprentices had almost every 
kind of disease tuberculosis, malaria, and a variety of interesting 
intestinal diseases. They had no money to buy medicine, he added. As 
if displaying a choice exhibit, he called a young boy often and asked us 
to note how green the boy was from malaria. But even when sick, he 
concluded, the master potters, out of the goodness of their hearts, still fed 

As we went through the plants, my mind swarmed with memories. 
During the early years of the civil wars, I recalled, the Chinese Red 
Army had occupied Kingtehchcn. The Shanghai Press had shrieked that 
the Communists had totally destroyed the famous Kingtehchen pottery 
works. Later I met one of the Red Army commanders, himself a former 
potter in Kingtehchen, who had taken part in the occupation. 

The Red Army had many potters in its ranks, he said. Instead of 
destroying the kiln^, it had allowed the owners to operate their kilns, 
but with many changes. The years of apprenticeship had been shortened, 
and during them both apprentices and master potters received regular 
wages from the owners. Joint committees of owners and potters managed 
the industry, and inspectors enforced the reforms. This system continued 
until the Red Army was driven out. The feudal system was then rein- 

Before and after the Red Army occupation, potters and their families 
had small family shrines in their dark, insanitary homes. Painted on the 
wall above each shrine was a mystic drawing, representing the spirit of 
the Red Army. In front of this the potters bowed in worship and burned 

Despite its feudalism, it was terrible to think of Kingtehchen falling 
into the hands of the Japanese. Here had lingered a precious cultural 
heritage. Here had been preserved the forms and designs of ancient 
China, some as delicate as moonlight shadows through a tree, and here 
was a rich, gorgeous folk-art drawn from all the mottled colouring of 

Leaving Kingtehchen, we sped onwards to the east, up mountain 
ranges rich in autumn colours, alongside clear rivers and plunging 
waterfalls. Clouds floated past us in ghostly drifts. In the late afternoon 
we rolled down into ancient Kimen, home of the famous black tea of 



JL>Y NOVEMBER 9, 1939 1 had entered the fringe of the guerrilla region 
along the southern shores of the lower Yangtze. A party of some twenty 
of us, including many students from Shanghai and printers and students 
from Hangkow, floated on bamboo rafts down a river approaching the 
Yangtze. Shrouded by morning mists, the forests on the mountains on 
either side of us were dim and mysterious- with shadows. Feathery bam- 
boos waved ghostly arms, then vanished in the shifting mist, and melan- 
choly oaks hung sadly over the stream as if gazing at their ancient 
reflections and sighing. 

The scene might have been the first morning on earth. As the sun rose 
higher and higher, it drew the mists after it, the river glistened with joy 
and the mountains became a tangled mass of autumn magnificence. 
Tea-plants stood in regimented columns, and small villages nestled be- 
"hind fishermen's nets spangled with morning dew. Once we passed a 
white primary-school building, across the face of which were painted 
the words: Down with dead education! Long live life education! The rafts 
broke into cheers. 

Narrow paths wound along the mountain sides, and a platoon of New 
Fourth Army guerrillas, our bodyguards, marched jauntily along them, 
shouting across the river to one another or to the soldiers who sat on the 
prow of each raft with rifles ready. No one in our party understood the 
guerrillas, for they spoke the Fukien dialect. Once I asked a man sitting 
on the raft behind me what tjiey were singing. He told me it was the 
Guerrilla Marching Song, celebrating their comrades, the flying troops who 
"feared neither towering mountains nor deep waters". They sang that 
they had no food, no clothing, and no guns, but that they would capture 
these from the enemy. And when this^ song was finished they sang the 
Touth Marching Song, comparing China to a broken, storm-tossed boat 
which could be rescued only by its youth. Sometimes their voices would 
rise into a long-drawn out "Hai-h-h-h-h!" 

The party on the rafts shouted and laughed. They were students, 
young and effervescent, some of them more revolutionary than the 
revolutionaries. Their gaiety made me feel old. I was weary from 
labour, strain, and conflict, and I had visited, as they had not, all the 
military hospitals on our route. Before my mind's eye moved an endless 
procession of soldiers bound for the front, endless lines returning wounded, 


and tens of thousands lying in primitive hospitals staffed by men incapable 
of carrying out the tasks imposed upon them by the war. 

There was the field hospital in Taiping which I had visited the day 
before. Nearly a thousand men of the Fiftieth Army lay there, and among 
them a peasant boy of eight who had been shot by the enemy while 
guiding a Chinese column over the mountain paths near his village. He 
lay on his bed, playing with a paper bird and a kite which the soldiers 
had made for him. Dark memories harassed me and I dreaded travelling 

As we floated down the river, the first enemy bombers came over, 
following the stream up to Taiping. Again dread congealed my blood. 
Our boatmen thrust their poles deep into the river bottom and we came 
to a dead stop, waiting, wondering if the enemy might consider us 
worthy of their bombs. But they droned past. 

When the river grew shallow, we landed and walked through sunny 
villages in fertile valleys. The lower Yangtze is a land rich in rice, tea, 
cotton, vegetables, silk, and, at this point, forests. On the higher moun- 
tain terraces wheat had been planted in beds, like vegetables, and each 
row was cultivated tenderly. 

We halted to gaze through open doors where long bundles of straw 
hung from rafters ; in the bundles silkworms were spinning their cocoons. 
On the earthen floors lay heaps of wax-tree branches which were rich 
with white beans bursting from their pods and which would soon be 
transformed into candles. 

The land was rich, but the peasants poor. Stagnant, green slime 
bubbled in open gutters. The shadow of a decaying landlord-merchant 
economy hovered over the land. 

From a dark interior came a woman's voice, raised in an ancient song 
of sorrow, connected with the building of the Great Wall. It was the 
softest of folk melodies. Three days before, a servant in an inn on the 
Yellow Mountain had taught me how to play it on his flat-stringed harp. 
New words had been composed for it, and it was now called the Anti- 
Japanese Seasonal Song. The first line of each stanza spoke of a season of 
the changing year, and then the lines that followed struck home with 
militant pledges of undying resistance to the foe. 

Darkness found us again on the river. As we turned a bend, the 
soldier at the head of our raft gave the long weird cry of a night bird. A 
bugle answered. Then we heard the mingled sound of many voices and 
saw the flare of pine torches casting into relief a surging mass of military 
caps, faces, and shoulders. A tremendous shout of "Hwang yin! Hwang 
yin!" (Welcome ! Welcome !) came from the shore. The cries blended 
with the Volunteer's Marching Song. I saw the slight figure of Dr. C. C. 
Sheng, Director of the Medical Service of the New Fourth Army, 
climbing over junks. I had met him in Hankow and had helped him 
collect money and medical supplies. As we stepped ashore, a path was 

cleared through the singing crowd and we were escorted to the Rear 
Base Hospital of the New Fourth Army. 

Instead of the dark, dreary institutions which I had expected, the New 
Fourth Array had the beginnings of the first modern medical service of 
any Chinese army. The Rear Base Hospital for the severely wounded, 
like the field hospital near general headquarters some twenty-five miles 
nearer the Yangtze, had a system modelled on the best Western hospitals. 
Whenever medical workers and supplies permitted, the system was being 
extended to the fighting detachments in the field. 

This medical service was the achievement of General Yeh Ting, com- 
mander of the New Fourth Army. He, along with Dr. Sheng, had first 
induced eleven qualified doctors and twenty trained nurses to join the 
Army. Finding it increasingly difficult to get more, they hoped to found 
a medical training school to train hundreds of educated youth as sanitary 
workers for the companies in the field. 

This Rear Base Hospital, located in the village of Hsiao Hokuo, was 
also the supply centre for the entire Army, some of whose fighting units 
were two or three weeks' marching distance down the Yangtze. The 
hospital wards and living-quarters of the staff were in great stone 
ancestral temples. Their exterior walls were painted to match the earth, 
the interiors whitewashed, and the earthen or stone floors sprinkled with 
lime. Carpenters and tinsmiths had modelled and constructed every 
conceivable kind of equipment for the wards, laboratory, dispensary, 
and operating-theatre. They had constructed wooden boxes, each . 
capable of carrying thirty pounds of medical supplies ; a man could carry 
two, one slung at each end of a bamboo pole. Army trucks gathered 
empty gasoline tins along the highways of the rear, and from these the 
tinsmiths manufactured equipment, including containers for salves. For 
medicine which could not be transported in metal containers, carpenters 
had even manufactured bottles from bamboo. 

This Army possessed the only X-ray and the only microscopes and 
autoclaves and had the only laboratory with two trained technicians 
in any army in China. Lacking equipment, the doctors had modelled 
an incubator and a pill-making machine and had them cast in the Army 
machine shop. Here was also the first delousing and bathing station. 

In this Rear Base Hospital I found a medical library with reference 
volumes in English, German, Japanese, and Chinese, and copies of 
Chinese, British, and American medical journals, for which it subscribed. 
Its doctors knew of the latest medical discoveries, of vitamins and the 
sulpha drugs, and were avidly reading the experiences df doctors in the. 
Spanish Republican Armies, as recorded in the British Medical Journal. 
The doctors were also writing and publishing pocket medical manuals 
and sending them to sanitary workers at the front. 

Organically connected with the civilian population as it was, the New 
Fourth Army, like the Eighth Route, opened its medical service to 

civilians without charge. By December 1938 the two rear base hospitals 
had given treatment to 35,000 civilians. There was no other public 
medical service in the war zones of the lower Yangtze, and most of its 
supplies had been donated by Chinese people's organizations, the Red 
Cross Medical Corps, and individuals. 

The Political Department of the New Fourth Army permeated all 
branches of the Army and anti-Japanese people's organizations and 
constituted a kind of revolutionary educational system. This work 
extended to the Army hospitals ; neither the Eighth Route nor the New 
Fourth Army surrendered any of their wounded to the hospitals of the 
Army Medical Administration of the Ministry of War. The chief reason 
was that they wished to prevent the disintegration of the Army's man- 
power and hoped to continue their revolutionary training. 

It was this system, and the Marxian political theory in which it was 
rooted, that bred charges against these armies and, in later years, again 
brought the country to the brink of civil war. Charges that the armies 
did not fight were simply untrue ; they fought the Japanese bravely, but 
rejected the Kuomintang political system. 

However ardent my own desire to see China firmly united, and much 
as I disliked the intellectual arrogance of some individual Communists, 
still, had I had a son or brother, I would not have wished to see him at 
the mercy of most Kuomintang armies. 

An unending variety of activities animated the New Fourth Army 
hospitals. Each day the Political Director read about the latest war news 
or interesting newspape r articles. Theatrical groups presented plays, 
and civilians, including outsiders like myself, delivered presents, made 
speeches, or sang. 

Over the beds hung a series of cards, each displaying five ideograms. 
Illiterate men were expected to learn one card each day. Literate men 
were supplied with books and newspapers. The Political Director or his 
assistant often sat by the bedside of men unable to write and took down 
anything they wished to contribute to the wall newspaper their fighting 
experiences, criticisms, thoughts, or the lines of some poem or song. 

In the Rear Base Hospital I found a small boy of nine who always lay 
with his head covered. When he saw a foreign face he began to whimper 
and tremble. A nurse bent over him and said : "That is not a Japanese, 
but an American, a friend." 

Two months previously, Japanese soldiers had raided this child's native, 
village, murdered his father and elder brother, and raped and killed his 
mother. He had screamed and fought until a Japanese mauled him into 
unconsciousness. One of his legs had had to be amputated. 

On a later visit to the Rear Base Hospital I saw this child again. He had 
been adopted by the Medical Service and spent half of each day in class; 
the rest of the time he prepared swabs, surgical dressings, and bandages. 
Three other small boys, also war orphans, did the same. This was one of 

the origins of the hsiao kwey, or "little devils", as they were affectionately 
called. They had no home but the Army, and were its future "cadres"* 
They were trained from childhood in Marxian thought, and in them an 
entirely new element entered Chinese society. 

Passing along the hospital aisles, I often turned to look at interesting 
faces. Once I halted, attracted by a swarthy face with an expression of 
chilled steel. It was that of a man named Chou Ping, twenty-three, who 
had been a Red guerrilla for five years before coming to the front against 
the Japanese. He was recovering from three wounds, but coolly remarked 
that he would soon be able to go back to the front. 

Six weeks before, he said, he had been sent with a small guerrilla unit 
to waylay enemy trucks along the ijiotor highway south of Nanking. He 
and another man were sent out to scout while the others lay in ambush. 
He saw a solitary Japanese truck coming with only one armed guard. 
The truck slowed down at a hill and Chou Ping leaped into it from the 
rear and killed the guard. When the driver looked around, he felt a 
bayonet against his neck. At Chou's order he drove on, but just as they 
neared the guerrilla ambush, Chou looked behind to find three more 
enemy trucks bearing down upon them. He drove his bayonet through 
the chauffeur and leaped to the road as the fighting began. His comrades 
destroyed the enemy soldiers, took everything they could carry from the 
trucks, left the rest in flames, and, carrying Chou Ping with them, made 

"How are the Japanese as fighters?" I asked the wounded men. An 
avalanche of opinions answered me : 

"They're weak when caught in the open and unprepared." 

"If they are behind defence works, with artillery, they are very brave ! 
That shows they are really cowards. . . ." 

"No need saying they're cowards ! They are good fighters ; but we are 
also good fighters. . . ." 

"/ say they're cowards, particularly at night! Even when we set off 
fire-crackers in a gasoline tin, they fire into the darkness all night. . , ." 

"Why do you set off fire-crackers in gasoline tins?" I asked. 
"To make the devils use up their ammunition ! We do that until they 
get used to it and pay no attention to us. Then we attack. . . , Now 
they patrol the roads. with armoured cars at night/ Each car has a search- 
light that swings around." 

"I was wounded while we were attacking a garrison," a man on 
another bed interrupted. "It was a railway station. Some of our 
comrades' tore UR tjie rails while we attacked the station. There were 
only a few buildings, and all the Japanese were upstairs in one of them. 
I climbed on a roof and looked right in. I saw ten or fifteen devils, and 
they had Chinese girls with no clothes on. We were sorry for the girls, 
but we couldn't help it. We s6t fire to the building and hurled hand* 
grenades through the windows." 


One night I addressed the convalescing wounded and the medical 
staff in the hospital club room. During my talk a soldier ran at me 
screaming : "Jherben Kwei-tze!" (Japanese devil !), and was almost on me 
before one of the doctors intercepted him. The man had gone insane 
after being wounded, but had seemed to regain his sanity. On the night 
of my speech, hearing a foreign voice, he came into the club room. Then 
something had snapped again. 

In a village across the river from this hospital was an Army transport 
station with a small garrison. When I came to spend a day there, a con- 
ference was called, and again I learned that I was expected to be both a 
walking encyclopaedia and a prophet. Among other things the men there 
wanted to know the attitude of the American public towards China, fhe 
general condition of different American political parties, the influence of 
the Hearst Press on American public opinion, and the effect on American 
policy of the appointment of Dr. Hu Shih as the new Chinese Ambassador. 

A number of buildings in the village were equipped as machine shops, 
where about two dozen men were hammering and turning wheels, or 
blowing bellows at a blacksmith's forge. This small arsenal was manned 
by trained arsenal workers from Shanghai and Hankow. They worked 
in a frenzy of concentration and were able to repair old rifles and manu- 
facture one new rifle a day. 

There was a hush-hush atmosphere about this place, and when I asked 
why, I was told that the authorities had refused the Army any guns to 
arm its new volunteers. 

Even after the Japanese invasion of China proper began, I was told, 
warfare continued to be waged against the Red guerrillas in south China 
who had been left behind when the main body of the Red Army went 
on the Long March. While Japanese artillery and airplanes roared over- 
head, General Yeh Ting, a military commander of renown, urged 
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to allow him to assemble and organize 
the Red guerrillas into an army for operation in the enemy rear. 
Generalissimo Chiang agreed and the Communists assented. The name 
"New Fourth Army" was chosen because, in 1926-7, General Yeh had 
been one of the most brilliant vanguard commanders in the famous 
Fourth Army, or "Ironsides", which had swept all before it in the 
Northern Expedition from Canton to Hankow. 

But when, in late 1937, the Red guerrillas had begun marching from 
seven different southern provinces to an assembly point in south Anhwei, 
provincial armies, officials, and landlords attempted to provoke clashes. 
Blockhouses were manned by local government troops ,or policemen, and 
trenches were thrown up along the routes of march. The guerrillas were 
under orders to fire no shot, but even as they marched against the 
Japanese, they stared into the muzzles of guns in the hands of their 
countrymen. Ragged, under-nourished, many of them sick or maimed, 
they continued to march,* often changing their route and moving at night 

to avoid conflict. Many "Red Army families" went with them. A? in the 
days of civil war, local landlords and officials spread rumours among the 
people that bandits were coming. Such incidents rankled in the hearts 
of the guerrillas. 

Some of the old guerrilla units had been scattered in inaccessible 
regions and had had to march three months before reaching their 
assembly point. At the end of two months 15,000 men from Fukien, 
Kiangsi, Chekiang, Hunan, Hupeh, Honan, and western Anhwei had 
been mustered, the majority in south Anhwei, others north of the Yangtze. 
Of these, 13,000 were admitted to the ranks of the New Fourth Army, 
which was divided into four detachments. One detachment, the Fourth, 
remained in its position north of the Yangtze to harass the enemy rear; 
the First, Second, and Third Detachments were south of the river, in the 
vicinity of Nanking, Wuhu, and Chinkiang, Japan's "sealed zone" of 
operation in the heart of China. 

Government inspectors counted the guns of the newly organized 
Army and allotted to it the same amount of money, ammunition, and 
uniforms allowed other armies. But they were not given new weapons. 
When other Red guerrilla units finally reached the assembly point, or 
when civilian volunteers in the enemy rear poured into the Army, no 
funds for their maintenance were* allotted. The Army had to stretch its 
original funds to cover all these. Unlike the national armies, however, 
the pay of fighters and commanders was kept on a more or less equal 
basis, fighters receiving $1.50 a month and officers from $2 to $4 (the 
latter being the pay of a regimental commander). Food and uniforms 
were provided by the Army, but out of their pay all men had to buy 
their own shoes or sandals, or such luxuries as shirts, underwear, tooth- 
brushes, or soap. As a result, few owned shirts or underwear. The 
relatively good pay that might have been given to officers was spread out 
over the whole Army. 

The Army's rapid recruitment of local civilians became a constant 
source of friction wi^h the Government. To the Army's repeated appfeals 
for more money, guns, and ammunition, the Government replied: "If 
we give you more money, you will not improve the condition of your 
soldiers, but merely enlarge your Army." The class struggle appeared in 
a new form: the Government did not wish the New Fourth Army to 
increase its strength and influence among the people. I had, in fact, 
already heard charges from many sources that though the Government 
wished the Communists to fight the Japanese, some of its leaders also 
hoped that the Communists would be wiped out in the process. 

The small arsenal which I saw in the mountains of south Anhwei had 
thus been founded to manufacture and repair guns for new volunteers. 
Its existence was one of those many Chinese secrets about which people 
gossiped. Certainly the Blue Shirt s'ecret service knew about it. 

From all I had heard, the commander of this Army, General Yeh Ting, 

seemed to be a candid man who made no secret of the growing strength 
of his Army, and when accused of it, declared that only by the total 
mobilization and arming of the people could China be victorious. 

General Yeh Ting had been an early Kuomintang follower of Dr. 
Sun Yat-sen, and after a period of study in the Soviet Union had joined 
the Chinese Communist Party. To him the united front had seemed the 
salvation of China, but when the split came in 1927 and the Kuomintang 
began terrorism against the Communists, he had been one of the chief 
leaders in the revolt of the Kuomintang armies opposed to the Terror. 
After the failure of the Canton Commune in December 1927, in which he 
took part, but with which he disagreed, he resigned from the Com- 
munist Party and went abroad to study. He refused to help the Kuomin- 
tang and was hostile to its reactionary policy. When the Japanese 
invasion of Manchuria began in 1931, he returned to China in the hope 
of helping weld the united front once more. He failed, for the Kuomin- 
tang still fought against the Communists. General Yeh's voice was again 
heard only after the Japanese invasion of China proper in July 1937. 

Yeh's record seemed clear enough, yet when I arrived at the New 
Fourth Army eight months after its formation, men avoided his name. 
One evening the Medical Director and some of the doctors asked to 
discuss their problems with me. These discussions added new complica- 
tions to an already tangled pattern. General Yeh Ting, they said, had 
left the Army and had asked Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to relieve 
him of his command. Three medical workers had also left, and other 
qualified doctors and some of the nurses were planning to resign. 

As a convinced leader of the united front, General Yeh was between 
two fires. On the one hand, the Government held him responsible for 
the Army, yet rejected his requests for funds and equipment to enable it 
to meet the ever-growing Japanese offensive against it. On the other 
hand, the Communist leaders, particularly Vice-Commander Hsiang 
Ying, conducted intrigues which prevented Yeh from exercising any 
control over the Army. 

A wall of suspicion had been built up against him and the new medical 
workers. He had resigned, but the Generalissimo had rejected his resig- 
nation and also his offer to organize another guerrilla army to fight 
the Japanese around Canton. 

The new medical staff had introduced a complete system of records 
and statistics and regular hours, but this ran counter to the old ma-ma" 
hu-hu (manana) habits of an army that sprang from the peasantry. ' 

Another complaint of the new doctors was that men found incapable 
of any other service were sent to work in the hospitals, And "little devils", 
children as young as eight years of age, were expected to act as nurses 
and attendants. In addition, feeble-minded men or even epileptics were 
put in as servants, the theory being that if an epileptic had a fit, he 
should have it in the hospital. 

I listened as the Medical Director explained that he hoped to create 
the first model medical service in any Chinese army. I shared his hopes 
and argued that every effort should be made to settle conflicts and pre- 
serve the service. I reminded them of the struggles of scientific pioneers 
in the Western world, some of whom had been called sorcerers and had 
been burned at the stake. Where else in China could they work? I 
asked them. In most other armies they would be forced into antiquated 
systems and would hold their positions only by kowtowing to generals 
and politicians. Such politicians usually said that China had enough 
men to go on fighting for years ; and one Szcchuen Army commander 
had even rejected the services of a Red Cross unit, refusing to "humour 
his troops". x 

A young doctor listening to me declared : "You argue like a Y.M.C.A. 
secretary V 9 

My final plea was that the doctors ask Vice-Commander Hsiang Ying, 
their chief opponent, to call a conference to hear their complaints and 
plans. The doctors listened and concurred. Only one doctor and a 
laboratory technician finally left the Army. The rest of us worked along 
the lines agreed upon. In the process I nearly broke my own political 
neck. But the Medical Service finally emerged victorious, Vice-Com- 
mander Hsiang issuing an Army order in support of the modern Medical 
Service, its organization and practices. And at my request the Red 
Cross Medical Corps sent two mobile units to aid it. 

The first modern Army Medical Service of a Chinese Army was at last 
firmly established. 


1 HE HOURS GREW small and the tea in our cups became cold as Vice- 
Commander Hsiang Ying and I talked. Like the members of his staff 
who had gathered to welcome us, he was a Communist who had passed 
all his adult life in the revolutionary movement. Some twenty years 
before, he had been a worker, had entered the labour movement, become 
a Communist, and finally one of the leaders in the party in China. All 
the education and training he possessed had been gained within its ranks. 
After the main body of the Red Army started on the Long March in late 
*934> he had been put in command of the Red guerrillas remaining in* 
Kiangsi. * 

He was now about forty, of medium height?, and strongly built. The 
social-revolutionary movement had moulded him into an austere, un- 
yielding personality, a man who would adopt any method to reach his 
goal. His critics said that intrigue and craftiness had become a part of 
his nature. 

I could not forget that Hsiang Ying had given an interview to a 
foreign writer whose wife had thereafter published an article charging 


that General Yeh Ting, commander of the New Fourth Army, had left 
the Communist Party in 1927 after marrying a rich Hong Kong woman. 
Another rumour spread at the time was that General Yeh had resigned 
from the New Fourth Army "because he was afraid to fight in the enemy 
rear". General Yeh Ting's reputation was, in fact, being assassinated by 
gossip. I happened to know that the highest Communist leaders in 
Yenan and Chungking were enraged by such rumours against him. The 
poison kept seeping through nevertheless. 

There was another side to this medal. Hsiang Ying had been one of the 
leaders responsible for the kind of organization and training that had 
made the New Fourth Army the most effective and intellectually enlight- 
ened military force in the enemy rear. 

On the night of our arrival he stood with four of us before a general 
headquarters military map which reached from the rafters to the floor. 
The massed red circles of Japanese garrisons in the New Fourth Army 
theatre of operation made the map look like a face afflicted with small- 
pox. The Army and the Japanese seemed to be fighting right in each 
other's laps. 

This theatre of operations was a long narrow belt from fifty to seventy 
miles in depth along the southern bank of the lower Yangtze River 
Valley. The Japanese-patrolled Yangtze bounded it on the north, and 
through this area, which the Japanese called their "sealed zone", or base 
of operation, ran a network of motor highways, rivers, lakes, and canals 
all an advantage to the enemy but a great disadvantage to the guerrillas. 
Around Nanking and Chinkiang this zone was a plain, barren of hills 
and trees and intersected by rivers, canals, lakes, and the Shanghai- 
Nanking railway an area ideal for an invader equipped with airplanes 
and motorized equipment. The wooded hills and mountains did not 
begin until the other side of the Yangtze city of Wuhu near general 

When the New Fourth Army first moved into its theatre of operation, 
the Japanese held undisputed sway. All Chinese resistance, save a few 
small groups of civilian guerrillas, had been destroyed ; puppet govern- 
ments and armies had been organized in every town and village; 
Japanese trucks and tanks bowled along the highways and Japanese 
boats along the rivers, lakes, and canals; and the Shanghai-Nanking 
railway operated under Japanese control. 

In April 1938 a New^ Fourth Vanguard unit stole into this "sealed 
zone" one night and fanned out in small groups of two or three men, 
moving rapidly from village to village to investigate enemy positions, 
equipment, and activities. The civilian population welcomed them and 
secretly sheltered them. In a month all members of the Vanguard unit 
were back in general headquarters with their reports. 

Fighting units then moved in. The "sealed zone" was turned into a 
bedlam, with guerrillas striking in a dozen places at once. At the same 

time political workers of the Army moved into the villages and began 
organizing the population into anti-Japanese associations. Right under 
the nose of the enemy, short-term training schools were founded in which 
civilians were taught methods of organization, education, espionage, and 

When I arrived eight months later, the Army had fought 231 battles, 
captured 1,539 rifles, 32 light machine-guns, 4 heavy machine-guns, 
48 sub-machine-guns, 50,000 rounds of ammunition, 22,738 yen in 
' Japanese bank-notes, radios, horses, mules, banners, maps, and other 
enemy trophies. They had destroyed some 200 enemy trucks and railway 
cars, 13 miles of railway, 4 miles of highway, 95 bridges, and 13 miles of 
electric power lines. They had taken 38 Japanese and 613 puppet troops 
prisoners and inflicted 3,253 casualties upon the enemy. Their own losses 
had been 243 killed and 4,231 wounded. 

In addition, the New Fourth, in co-operation with the civilian popula- 
tion, had wiped out 3,000 bandits, whole armies of which had arisen in 
the period of Japanese depredations. Some of them had been paid by 
the Japanese to harass the countryside. 

After less than a year of warfare the New Fourth guerrillas had either 
wiped out or won over most of the conscripted puppet armies in the 
Japanese "sealed zone". Such armies, along with the puppet govern- 
ments they guarded, could exist only within large walled towns, in which 
the Japanese now had to maintain heavy garrisons. Enemy trucks or 
boats could travel only with armed guards and had to be heavily con- 
voyed. Local civilian guerrillas who had formerly fought under the 
slogan of "Kill Japanese, then die", were taught by the New Fourth 
Army Training Camp how to "kill Japanese and live". And some pup- 
pets considered it a form of life insurance to supply the guerrillas with 
information about the enemy. 

Hsiang Ying showed us a number of Japanese handbills dropped by 
airplane throughout their "sealed zone". One was a cartoon in four 
pictures. The first showed the dark figures of guerrillas destroying a 
bridge at night while a little Chinese boy watched at a distance ; the next 
three showed the little boy racing to a Japanese garrison to betray his 
countrymen ; the last was the laughing face of the child as he waved a 
bank-note in the air. 

Another handbill looked like a bank-note except that the reverse side 
explained the procedure of desertion ; it urged guerrillas to bring their 
rifles, halt at least two hundred feet away from the Japanese garrison, 
and wave a white flag. Next all should lay their rifles on the earth, then, 
with arms uplifted, approach the Japanese sentry one by one to be 
searched for concealed weapons. After that a life of ease would be theirs ! 

I was told of a New Fourth company which had recently surrounded 
and occupied a market town south of Nanking in which traitors were 
preparing to welcome a Japanese garrison force. The captured puppet 


leaders were brought to mass public trial before the citizens of the town, 
condemned to death, and immediately shot by the New Fourth, while 
the puppet soldiers conscripted peasants and former policemen were 
sent to the rear for re-training. Among the witnesses brought against the 
J>uppet chiefs were twenty girls and young married women taken from a 
"consolation house" in which they had been locked to await the arrival 
of enemy troops. The chief puppet, president of the local Chamber of 
Commerce, had defended himself at the trial by declaring: "The trouble 
was that there were not enough prostitutes in the town." 

The day following our arrival I was taken on an inspection tour of all 
departments of the Army. The chief institution was the Army Training 
Camp, in which some i ,400 men and more than a hundred women were 
studying. Groups of commanders and political workers were withdrawn 
from the fighting detachments every three months for re-training in 
military, political, and cultural subjects. Hundreds of men and women 
in every stage of education, including college graduates and artists, had 
left Shanghai and other cities, passed through the Japanese lines, and 
entered the camp. 

Military commanders gave seventy per cent of their time to the study 
of military science, and thirty per cent to political and cultural subjects; 
those destined for political work reversed this proportion. The main 
political course was in the theory and tactics of the united front. Most 
of the old Red Army commanders were poor peasants and found it no 
easy task to learn that they should work as brothers with landlords and 
merchants, for even in the midst of military war, class war was being 
waged against them. High officials of the Government even objected to 
the existence of the training camp, calling it another Communist 

Other political subjects taught in the camp included the history of the 
Chinese Revolution, general world history, and methods of mass mobiliza- 
tion. Under "cultural training" came reading, writing, and geography. 
A youpg woman graduate from a Peiping university soon introduced the 
first courses in natural sciences. Following the settling of conflicts with 
the Medical Service, qualified doctors and nurses lectured on physiology, 
anatomy, and personal hygiene. I initiated the latter courses by giving a 
general lecture on "National Resistance and Health" to the entire camp. 

One point in my lecture touched upon an attitude which was not 
peculiar to the Chinese: some educated students entering the Army 
expressed contempt for those who took time off from the revolution to 
take a bath or keep themselves in good physical t condition. "Petty 
bourgeois", they called such students. In my lecture I declared that I 
could see nothing revolutionary in the scabies which afflicted most of 
them and that even hardened Russian Bolsheviks took baths. 

The reluctance to bath, however, was more than an "intellectual 

attitude 1 '. All water had to be carried from distant streams and there 
was no way of heating it. Students did all their own work while studying, 
and arranging a bath was a major problem which only the hospitals had 
solved. Subsequently, I used some of my royalties from books and 
articles, together with money sent me by the British Ambassador, to 
build the first D.B.S. (delousing-bathing-scabies) treatment station in the 
Army. It was a large building designed by the medical workers : only 
stone, earth, and timber were used. Pipes were made from trunks of 
hollowed-out bamboo, with spray holes punched at regular intervals. 
The construction of this station constituted a minor anti-Japanese 
triumph and I was proud of it. 

Japanese prisoners came under the charge of the Enemy Work 
Section of the Army. This section examined all captives, keeping a few 
younger ones, particularly workers or students, but turning over older 
men or officers to the headquarters of the Third War Zone. The Govern- 
ment paid for each captive. An enemy officer brought a large sum. 
The New Fourth had retained three captives, two of them fishermen and 
one a student, to help teach the Japanese language and prepare propa- 
ganda for clandestine distribution among Japanese troops. 

The Japanese prisoners, dressed in Chinese uniforms, had never been 
in chains and moved about freely. When I inquired concerning their 
attitude, Ling Shih-fu said they were tired of the war and never tried to 
escape. In any event, if they tried to get away, they would be killed by 
civilians, who hunted Japanese as they would snakes. The three captives 
who taught Japanese had written and signed a joint letter to the soldiers 
of their former division, telling them about their life in the New Fourth 
and urging them to desert. The three thus became men without a 
country ; only the world revolution could give them a home. 

One room belonging to this department was filled with war trophies 
of every description, including many flags, two of which were used as 
window curtains. Also among the trophies were two mail-sacks filled 
with letters to and from Japan and a pile of Japanese soldier diaries. One 
of these I translated into English with the help of my secretary and Ling 
Shih-fu. It was a voluminous record kept by a Corporal Nakamura and 
was a remarkable study in gradual brutalization. It began when the 
Corporal was unwillingly conscripted. After he was marched to the port 
of embarkation, he wrote theatrically of a drizzling rain : "Is this rain, or 
are these my tears?" 

In September ^938, after months of killing, looting, and raping, he 
wrote from somewhere south of Nanking : 

FJne weather. At four this afternoon we were all ordered to Lukuo- 
chen. We seized the village and searched every house. We tried to 
capture the most interesting girls. The chase lasted for two hours. 


Niura shot one to death because it was her first time and she was ugly 
and was despised by the rest of us. 

A number of entries spoke of the repeated destruction of a strategic 
bridge by the New Fourth Army and of the Japanese going daily to 
repair it. Once they caught a group of five civilians and tortured them to 
death. Some new Japanese recruits watched the torture with horror, 
and Nakamura wrote of them : "All new recruits are like this, but soon 
they will be doing the same things themselves." 

In late September, Nakamura was again ordered to Lukuochen. This 
time the entire population had evacuated before them. The Corporal 
wrote : "If the people act like this, how can we maintain peace and order 
in east Asia?" On the ryght of October i the New Fourth Army killed 
Nakamura. His rifle number was 750508, gas mask No. 82056, bayonet 
No. 2296713, badge No. 62. His father was Nakamura Yekichi of 90 
Chome, Omaricho 3, Omoriku, Tokyo. 

A few days later I talked with two new Japanese captives, one a soldier, 
another a Lieutenant. The soldier had been captured while in the act of 
raping a woman and was in the headquarters hospital as a syphilis 
patient. With buck teeth and practically no chin, he looked like a fish 
and was actually as primitive as an animal. I marvelled at the self- 
control of the Chinese. 

The captured Lieutenant was a cold, hard man who had formerly 
been a policeman in Tokyo. He was brought to the hospital because of an 
infected insect bite. He told me he had been captured outside a Japanese 
garrison on the Yangtze. Three of his soldiers had left the garrison one 
morning to go to a near-by village to "get some chickens". Night came, 
and when they did not return, the officer climbed a small hill and looked 
around. Suddenly hands grasped his legs and others throttled him and 
carried him away. 

"Brave men do not fight like that !" he added contemptuously. 

When I asked him what he thought of the war, he replied coldly: "I 
don't think; I obey orders." 

My day's inspection of the New Fourth Army headquarters ended in 
a "military men's conference" at night. Hundreds of men executed 
guerrilla manoeuvres in the mountains during the day and followed the 
Army practice of gathering afterwards for a discussion of their "weak 
points and strong points". Mutual criticism between commanders and 
men was encouraged, and at the conclusion a chairman summed up the 

Such were the Army's efforts to "drive forward this great age !" 

1 86 


1 HE MEDICAL TRAINING SCHOOL of the New Fourth Army had 
finally opened and the first thirty-eight educated youths drawn from the 
Army Training Camp had enrolled. The doctors and the head nurse,Miss 
Yang, spent hours each day, even while pursuing their regular hospital 
duties, preparing and delivering lectures. They were in great need of 
"teaching material" above all, a human skeleton. Three of them went 
in a delegation to staff headquarters to ask the Vice-Commander and the 
Political Director to permit them to use the bodies of soldiers who died 
in the hospitals for demonstrating to their classes. They also argued that 
they themselves wished to perform autopsies because a number of soldiers 
had died without any apparent reason. 

The commanders were deeply interested, but said it could not be 
done. Only when a scientific attitude had permeated the Army and the 
civilian population could autopsies be performed. Most of the soldiers 
were from the local villages, and if they or the people learned that bodies 
were being cut up in the hospital, a serious situation might develop. A 
mutilated man, moreover, would have no place in an after life. I myself 
had already heard of soldiers in other armies cutting off the noses or ears 
of the Japanese dead on the battlefield in order that these enemy souls 
might never find a resting-place. 

Arguing with the commanders, one of the doctors said: "Today a 
student of mine denied that he had two bones in his lower arm. Another 
believed that he had two sets of intestines, one for big business, one for 
little business. It is difficult to teach theoretically." 

"We will try to send you a dead Japanese from the battlefield," a com- 
mander answered. "The Army won't care what you do with that. But, 
as a rule, the Japanese carry away their dead." 

One day a convoy of stretchers came in, and Dr. N. C. Gung, a high- 
strung, gifted surgeon with the hands and mind of an artist, performed 
five operations. One was an amputation from the hip. Dr. Chang, the 
only woman doctor in the enemy rear, assisted. She taught anatomy in 
the training school. After the amputation an attendant prepared to 
carry the leg away, but before he could do so, Dr. Chang was upon him, 
crying something about "teaching material". She rescued the leg, 
carved off the flesh, and finally put it in a gasoline tin filled with dis- 

Some time later everyone in the buildings was brought to his feet by a 
fearful growling and screaming in the courtyard. We rushed out to see a 
mongrel tugging and snarling at one end of the amputated leg, and 
Dr. Chang at the other end screaming at the top of her voice. We helped 
her drive off the dog, and then watched her carry off her treasure to the 
main hospital building and put it to boil in a delousing vat. 


Later I saw the new radio set which the Medical Director had just 
triumphantly brought, through the Japanese lines from Shanghai. All 
the other receivers in the Army were telegraphic. So when the first 
sound of voices and music came over the air, crowds of astonished soldiers 
and civilians gathered. They looked all around the machine and were 
awe-struck. Finally a peasant woman nodded her head wisely and 
declared : 

"It's one of those things called Science !" 

The others looked respectfully from her to the machine. When they 
had looked and listened their fill, they departed, and I was alone in the 
hospital library. I turned the dial with a feeling that I was reaching out 
into infinity. The Japanese stations at Nanking and Shanghai came 
leaping at me, but I passed them by and turned farther. The chiming 
of a bell came through infinity and an English voice burst on me, saying : 
"This is London calling !" 

I sat almost petrified. The voice announced Beethoven's Fifth 
Symphony, and as the concert began, all my buried feeling for the culture 
of the West welled up in me and tears filled my eyes. Just then a hand 
touched my shoulder, and glancing up I saw Dr. Chang, her face con- 
torted with misery. 

"My leg is ruined !" she cried, while the Fifth Symphony flooded the 
room. "I left it boiling in the delousing vat and the servant went to 
sleep. The water boiled away and the bone is ruined !" 

Dr. Gung appeared in the doorway and he entered and listened to her 
tragedy. "Don't worry!" he consoled her. "I have a plan, but we must 
keep it secret. I'm going to dig up graves until I find a skeleton good 
enough for teaching material. Will you come along or are you afraid?" 

Apparently Dr. Chang resented the imputation of femininity, for she 
tossed her head and answered proudly : 

"I challenge you to socialist competition in skeleton-hunting. I will 
find my own cemetery!" 

While the Fifth Symphony soared, they made a compact in body- 
snatching and left immediately to go their separate ways with spades, 
sacks, and flashlights. 

Chinese coffins are placed on the surface of the earth and the soil is 
merely heaped over them. Robbery would be easy. After Dr. Gung had 
dug up eight graves and Dr. Chang five, we realized the meaning of 
infant mortality in China, for most of the graves turned out to be those of 
infants. Income graves the skeletons proved useless, having been decom- 
posed by the soggy soil of the lower Yangtze. On one trip, Dr. Gung dug 
up the skeleton of a New Fourth Army soldier. 'The* flesh was not yet 
decomposed, so Dr. Gung marked the grave with a small pile of stones, 
planning to rob it a year later if their search still proved fruitless. 

One midnight as I worked over the radio news, Dr. Chang entered and 
beckoned to me mysteriously. I followed her into the courtyard. As if 

displaying stolen jewels, she opened a sack and pointed to a pile of 

"She was from my native town of Wusih, and she died of tuberculosis," 
she said enthusiastically. "I could tell because the body had been 
wrapped and the orifices stuffed with silk wool. The people of Wusih 
think this prevents the disease from escaping." 

At that moment Dr. Gung came in, his hands dirty from earth. He 
stared at Dr. Chang's pile of bones with the envious eye of a connoisseur 
who knows he is beaten. 

"I won !" Dr. Chang crowed. "You owe me a dinner !" 

A week later the skeleton was all set up and Dr. Chang led me to it. 
She had wired the bones together, then strung them up on a bamboo 
contrivance. Each bone bore a small label. The thing had ceased to be a 
skeleton ; it load been transformed into a minor monument of man's will 
to knowledge. So we walked around it, calling admiring attention to its 
. "strong points" and its "weak points". 

Late one evening the promised Japanese cadaver was also delivered 
to the hospital. It was brought into the large "treatment room" of the 
out-patient department. With the men bearing it had come a young 
male nurse from the Third Detachment. His eyes were gleaming with 

"We got your orders to bring in a dead Japanese for the sake of 
science," he informed Dr. Chang. "I came along." 

A messenger raced off to a near-by village to summon all the medical 
students. They soon hurried in, clad in white aprons, skull-caps, and 
mouth-masks, their notebooks in their hands. A thick layer of lime was 
spread on the earthen floor beneath the board on which the body lay, 
and around it a primitive amphitheatre was created out of low stools, 
benches, and chairs. The gleaming acetylene lamp was brought in from 
the operating-room and hung from the rafters, and a row of big glass jars 
filled with alcohol were placed on a table to receive "specimens" for 
"teaching material". 

I wonder if any scientists have ever lived through a more portentous 
moment or approached their task with greater enthusiasm. The medical 
students had previously studied only ordinary academic or military sub- 
jects. It had, moreover, been almost necessary to conscript them to get 
them into the Medical Training School. 

Dr. Chang and Dr. Gung, their aprons gleaming white, stood behind 
the outstretched body, and Dr. Chang lifted her voice in the first medical 
demonstration given to a Chinese army. There was not even a rustle in 
the room. 

As midnight neared, I left them for my radio work, but through the 
news broadcasts from far-away America, London, Berlin, and Bombay 
penetrated the voices of the doctors in the room beyond. 



WHEN i FIRST metold Mother Tsai, she had already emerged as a leader 
of the women in the valley. She was unusually tall for a "south Yangtze 
Valley" woman ; her skin was brown, and die veins on her old hands 
stood out like ridges on a hillside. She was thin and hard, and when she 
spoke, her voice was firm and almost harsh. Her hair, touched with 
white, was drawn back from a high forehead and rolled in a knot at the 
nape of her neck. As a peasant woman and the mother of many sons, she 
had suffered bitterly all her life, but of this she never spoke. Her white 
cotton jacket was neatly buttoned up close around the neck and her dark 
cotton trousers always seemed to have just been washed. Though none 
of these people ever ironed their clothing, hers must somehow have been 
pressed beneath some weight. She was the embodiment of dignity and 

It was difficult to believe that she was sixty-eight, for she seemed much 
younger. She was, she told me, a widow with four children. Of her three 
sons, the two elder were in the New Fourth Army, and the younger, a 
boy of fifteen, helped her and her daughters-in-law till the fields. 

Before the war, life in the villages had been drab and monotonous. 
But when the New Fourth Army had marched into the valley the year 
before, the world had seemed to enter with it. Many girl students had 
joined the Political Department of the Army ; when they went knocking 
on the doors of the village women, the old world had crumbled. The 
ladies of the gentry had refused to receive them, sending their menfolk 
instead, and thus suggesting that the girls were prostitutes. But when the 
girls knocked on Mother Tsai's door, she looked into their eyes and knew 
they were not bad. She invited them in, placed bowls of tea before them, 
and called her daughters-in-law and neighbour women to come and sit 
with them. And in this way the Women's National Salvation Association 
was born in the valley. It grew until it had over a hundred members. 

Mother Tsai's lean, tall figure could often be seen walking along the 
paths from village to village, urging women to join literacy classes and 
attend discussion groups to learn what the war was about and how they 
could help. After the day's work was dqne, women could be seen sitting 
on their doorsteps, cutting out pieces of cloth and sewing. When I asked 
them what they were doing, they replied : "Making shoes for the Army." 

More and more women took over the field work previously done by 
men. The younger men had joined the Army and the older men and 
boys helped in the fields or carried supplies to the battlefield and brought 
back the wounded. On every festival day members of the Women's 
Association would go to the hospital to "comfort the wounded'* with gifts 
of food, sing songs, and talk with the soldiers. It was always Mother Tsai 
who delivered the speeches in the wards, telling the wounded that they 
were all her sons and the sons of the Women's Association. And she 

never closed a speech without telling them about women's rights, or 
urging them to induce their womenfolk to join the Association. Some 
men had never heard such talk before and they listened with respect. 
About such matters Chinese men everywhere seemed much more 
civilized and tolerant than Occidental men, and only a few ever opposed 
the new movement. 

The women had become particularly confident after Army women had 
conducted classes. One of these classes covered Japanese espionage and 
sabotage methods in the war zones and it urged women to become the 
"eyes and ears of the Army", to combat defeatism, watch everywhere for 
spies or traitors, and boycott Japanese goods. One phrase covered all 
such activities : "Guarding the rear of our Army." After that they never 
just sat and listened while their menfolk dispensed wisdom ; they took 
part in conversations, conducted propaganda about almost everything 
on earth, went to mass meetings, and questioned every stranger who 
passed through the valley about his family and his family's family down 
to the tenth generation. 

Now and then a man rose to protest against the "new women". There 
was, for instance, the merchant Chang, who declared that when the 
women got going, they wore out men and exhausted horses. Mother 
Tsai was the worst of all, he said, and an idea in her head rattled like a 
pea in an empty gourd. She had become particularly obnoxious to him 
since she had discovered that he was buying up all the small white beans 
from the lah tree. The people made candles from these beans, but Chang 
had begun cornering them and selling them in Wuhu. Now the city of 
Wuhu had been occupied by the Japanese, and the women soon wanted 
to know just why any person traded in it. How was it, they asked, that 
Merchant Chang could pass through the Japanese lines, month in and 
month out, without difficulty? And why had the wax beans of the valley 
suddenly found such a big market? Perhaps the Japanese made oil from 
them ! No one respected Merchant Chang anyway, for everyone knew 
that he had a hand in the valley's new opium-smoking den, where the 
village riff-raff and even some family men had begun squandering their 

Mother Tsai one day walked straight into Chang's shop and put the 
question to him. With withering contempt, the merchant asked her if 
she wanted to buy his beans. This was not only an insult, but it mocked 
the poverty of the old lady and of every peasant family in the valley. 
Merchant Chang soon learned what it meant to despise the will of the 
people. Not a soul would buy or sell him anything, and when he passed 
through the streets people looked the other way. Once a little boy threw 
a stone after him and called out : "Traitor." And one day as he passed a 
farmhouse, he distinctly heard a dog being set on him. 

At last Merchant Chang went in anger to the local government 
official. The official called in Mother Tsai for a friendly talk. The old 


kdy went, but not alone. The entire membership of die Women's 
Association escorted her to the official's door, and her son, her daughters- 
in-law, and several relatives accompanied her right into his home. Other 
villagers trailed along, and it looked as if the whole village was waiting 
outside the official's residence. The official himself was not a bad fellow* 
In fact, he was patriotic and liberal-minded. But when he saw the crowd, 
he became more liberal-minded than ever. He asked Mother Tsai to 
explain her talk with Chang, and she told him about the traffic with 
Wuhu and about the opium and gambling den. The opium, she pointed 
out, came from some corrupt officers in a provincial Chinese army 
farther to the west. There had never before been an opium-smoking 
den in the valley, and the Women's Association asked that it be closed 

The official admitted the evil of opium and gambling, but said there 
was no law against either. A new opium-smoking law was expected soon ; 
until then he urged the women to argue with the men "with love in their 
hearts". Old Mother Tsai replied : "We women have already argued 
with love in our hearts. The men will not listen. They tell us to go back 
to our kitchens and not interfere in men's affairs." 

Mother Tsai ended the interview by announcing to the amazed 
official : "We women have risen. We will not allow rich men to despise 
the will of the people." 

Nor could the official do anything about Merchant Chang. Tfrere was 
no proof that he traded with the Japanese. True, he replied, men had 
seen him in the streets of Wuhu. But he might have slipped through the 
Japanese lines like other men. There was no law against this. 

March 8 brought matters to a crisis. This was always celebrated 
throughout China as International Women's Day, and the valley buzzed 
with preparation for a mass meeting in the great courtyard of an old 
ancestral temple. Men leaders had been invited to say a few words of 
greeting, but it was a woman's day. All the front seats in the temple 
courtyard were reserved for women, while soldiers, officers, and civilian 
men were invited to sit in the back. The faces and names of the women 
scientists, writers, and revolutionary leaders of many nations shouted at 
us from scores of posters. A number of them called on the women to 
"revive the spirit of Florence Nightingale". 

On this morning Mother Tsai led the entire Women's National Salva- 
tion Association to the Army hospital to present gifts to the wounded. 
Before going to the wards, they called to present me with ten eggs and a 
chicken. Mother Tsai sat very straight and asked me fo tell Western 
women how the women of China had struggled to emancipate them- 
selves. "You", she said, "express the high spirit of womanhood by your 
willingness to eat bitterness with us." I was deeply affected by her 

I went with the women to the hospital wards and watched them bring 

in great bamboo baskets filled with eggs, cakes, and half a slaughtered 
hog. Their husbands proudly carried the gifts down the aisles for the 
wounded to see and exclaim over. And when this was done, all the 
women gathered and sang the Consolation for the Wounded song, telling the 
soldiers, "O men of honour", that they had "suffered the wounds of war 
for millions of women and children". 

It was a beautiful and moving scene. After it was finished, I talked 
with Mother Tsai and her followers. They wished to know what else 
they could do to help the wounded, and I proposed that they make 
pillows and pillow-cases, embroidering each case with such slogans as 
"IJero of the Nation" or "Towards the Final Victory". They accepted 
the idea eagerly and I started the campaign with a donation of money 
for cloth and silk thread, assuring them that they must not thank me, 
that this was my fight as well as theirs. 

The mass meeting that afternoon was a tremendous success. Mother 
Tsai had an attack of stage fright, but conquered her fear and went on to 
speak of women's rights and their part in the war. Before finishing, she 
announced that her Association was going to root out all evils in the 
valley, including gambling and opium and idleness. In concluding she 
revealed that news had just reached her that one of her own sons had 
been wounded at the front. It was an honour to be the mother of a man 
who had suffered in such a cause, she said, and it made her own duty so 
much the greater. 

. She was about to leave the stage, but halted to stare. For all the 
soldiers and commanders had risen and were holding their rifles high in 
the air. To the stirring strains of the Volunteer Marching Song the old lady 
moved slowly off the stage. 

A few days later one of the Army doctors called me out to the out- 
patient clinic of the hospital, and to my amazement I found old Mother 
Tsai lying injured on a stretcher. As I bent over her, she began in a weak 
voice to tell me what had happened. It was all about the opium and 
gambling den, she said. The Women's Association had argued with the 
men to close it down, and when they had refused, she and the other 
women had stalked into the place and peremptorily ordered the men to 
go home. The ruffians had shouted abuse at them. Finally Mother Tsai 
had brought a big stick down across the table, scattering all the money 
and mah-jongg cubes around the room. Other women had started to 
follow suit, the men had fought them, and there had been a great 
row. Almost every woman had been beaten Mother Tsai worst 
of all. 

For days the valley was in an uproar. Fathers, husbands, and sons, 
soldiers and commanders stalked about in a fury. Mother Tsai's bed 
was surrounded by a crowd of women, every one of them with some sort 
of bruise, but all of them chattering happily. For the opium den had 
been closed down and Merchant Chang and every man who had beaten 
G (China) *93 

a woman had been jailed. "A great victory a great victory", the 
women kept saying. 

Old Mother Tsai appealed to me : 

"Now, American comrade, write to the American Women's National 
Salvation Association and tell them about this. Tell about our victory 
and tell them that without sacrifice there can be no victory." 

I think my voice trembled a little as I said I would do that, but I sat 
thinking of American women women well clad and well cared for, 
convinced by a thousand movies that "love" was the solution of all 
problems. I doubted whether many of them could appreciate the 
conditions under which Chinese women lived and struggled. 

It was a few weeks before Mother Tsai was back on the field of battle. 
One day I glanced up from my desk and found her standing in the door, 
a small group of young women behind her all smiling. I went outside 
with them and found men, women, and children carrying pillows. Each 
pillow-case was embroidered with flowers and birds, and across each 
stretched such a slogan as I had suggested. Later the women went from 
bed to bed, presenting each man with a pillow. The surprise and pleasure 
of the patients was payment enough. 

There were too few pillows, however, for several wounded men had 
just come in, including two Japanese prisoners of war. Promising to 
make others for them, Mother Tsai induced two Chinese soldiers to 
surrender their pillows to these Japanese. With the presentation, she 
delivered a speech about the rights of women. The Japanese gazed up at 
her with amazed and embarrassed smiles, 

"It's grand, simply grand," I exclaimed to a doctor. "The old lady has 
the Japanese on their backs, and they can't do a thing but lie there and 
listen to her talk about the equality of women. What a dose for them ! 
Just what they deserved !" 


As THE YEAR 1938 drew to a close and the New Year came in and 
dragged along, the entire lower Yangtze River Valley writhed in agony. 
The Japanese drove wedges southwards from the river, one to the west of 
us where the Fiftieth Chinese Army held firm, another twenty miles to 
our east against the mountain city of Nanling. For weeks it seemed that 
Nanling could not stand up under the bombardment and bombings, A 
division of the Fiftieth Army passed through our valley towards the 
beleaguered city, and other columns from the New Fourth Army moved 
swiftly by night to join their comrades along the shores of the Yangtze 
and to strike night and day at the enemy rear and flanks. 

Towns and villages changed hands a dozen times, and the wounded 
came in endless lines. Thousands of civilians fled to the rear, finding 

food and shelter in Government refugee stations or begging from door 
to door and around the Army encampments. When villages were re- 
captured, civilians who had fallen into Japanese hands were sent in for 
treatment. They had been bayoneted, mauled with rifles, or torn by 
dumdum bullets, and some had had air injected under the skin of their 
chests so that they still lay panting in agony. Others were dying slowly 
from partial decapitation. 

When the long-drawn-out struggle began, the Medical Director of the 
New Fourth Army made a flying trip to Shanghai to solicit money and 
medical supplies from Chinese and foreign organizations. I sent reports 
and appeals to the British Relief Fund and the Special Advisory Com- 
mittee of the American Red Cross, The director soon returned, flushed 
with success, and at the same time handed me $2,000 in cash from the 
British Ambassador. Half of this sum I sent immediately to the Mass 
Movement Department of the New Fourth Army ; the rest we kept for 
use in our valley. 

By the time the lunar New Year dawned, the enemy had been driven 
back. As the roar of artillery grew fainter, the peasant refugees gathered 
up their belongings, seated their babies in baskets, and started back 
towards their homes. They felt it a disgrace, a violation of their dignity 
as men, to depend on public charity. Even the civilian wounded in the 
hospitals felt that men without homes and money had no rights not 
even the right to moan in pain. Many refused to wait until their injuries 
healed, but hobbled out secretly at night, ashamed of their poverty. 

But their homes lay in ruins. All farm animals and poultry had been 
killed, and every scrap of metal in agricultural implements and cooking 
utensils had been carried away. Many public granaries had been looted, 
and those that escaped had little rice left. Men cannot till the soil with 
their fingers, and some rice, moreover, had to be kept for seed. 

I discussed with the New Fourth Army doctors how best to spend the 
thousand dollars we had left. Near the hospital stood an ancestral 
temple which housed fifteen peasant refugee families, and beyond it lay 
a stretch of unused land which the chu (local administrative area) official, 
who was also a landlord, offered to us rent-free. The doctors conceived a 
plan for a self-sufficient community. They drew up a list of needed 
agricultural implements and seeds, went to the temple, and laid the plan 
before the peasants. They told the refugees that the women (those with- 
out scabies) could earn money by washing hospital linen and clothing 
and preparing surgical dressings. Soldiers could teach some to weave 
sandals, bamboo baskets, mats, and fans, and the hospital would be 
responsible for the health of all. 

The refugee women kept silent, as was the custom, and the men 
thought long before asking how much interest they would have to pay 
on the money. The doctors told them that there would be no interest, 
but that if they earned a profit, it should be used to help other refugees 

settle the land. The men listened sceptically, and one remarked that the 
land was rent-free only because the Army was in the region ; if it moved 
away, the landlord would demand not only rent, but back rent. The 
doctors offered to get documentary guarantees from the chu official, but 
the peasants observed that documents meant nothing if the Army moved 
away. Nevertheless they decided that they could at least cultivate the 
land until that time came; after the devils were driven from the Yangtze 
River Valley, they could always return to their old homes. 

When all had agreed to this, one of them said : "Your seeds and imple- 
ments are too expensive. We can buy them cheaper. And why have you 
put down water-melon seed? Beans are better; water-melons only taste 

The doctors were a little abashed at this. We had meant only to enliven 
our diet of rice, cabbage, and, occasionally, a little pork. But the peasants 
ate meat only at New Year's, and water-melons seemed to them rank 

A young peasant listened thoughtfully to all this talk and then re- 
marked that the fifteen families could farm more cheaply if all combined 
and later shared the crop. Together they would be able to afford a 
buffalo or two to help with the ploughing. They could even buy pigs ; 
and ducks would be cheaper than the chickens we had listed, because 
ducks matured quickly and after a time could feed themselves. They 
should also, he said, examine the soil to see just what crops could be 
planted. It was virgin rolling hills, and rice would be out of the question. 

Feeling -like ignoramuses, the doctors finally turned the whole plan 
over to the peasants, and next day a group of them walked over the hills, 
feeling the soil and shaking their heads. When they had finished, five 
of them came to the hospital. They had radically reduced our original 
financial estimates and announced that three groups of men were ready 
to leave next morning, one to bargain for agricultural implements in a 
market town to the south, another to buy the best seeds in Nanling, and 
the third to look for draft animals and pigs and arrange for a duck- 
dealer to hatch a thousand eggs. They could buy ducklings at five dollars 
per hundred. 

They counted to the last copper the money we gave them, but said 
they needed no money to sleep in inns. Peasants always found shelter in 
the homes of other peasants. But they would each need ten cents a day 
for food. 

By the end of a week they had established their own co-operative farm. 
Their women came to the hospital for examinations, and those free of 
scabies began making dressings and doing washing, while the others were 
put under treatment. The Army sent soldiers to teach sandal-weaving. 
The doctors left the farming to the men, but insisted on arranging a 
balanced diet for them. The men objected to the luxury of meat once a 
week, but the doctors had their way, and when they were gone, two of 

the doctors began to sketch designs for a model village, with a school- 
room for the children, a bathroom, and a common laundry-shed* 

One of the younger peasant men, as strong as an ox and with a face 
that glowed with life, was elected farm manager, a task he combined with 
tilling. It was he who came striding across the hills for all negotiations 
with us. 

When the time came to lay out the model village, dozens of people 
wandered slowly over the hills and finally selected a high, dry spot in the 
centre of the land. We watched the village grow from mud bricks baking 
in the sun to the first thatched house. Where the mud bricks joined the 
thatch they left an open space through which the smoke from the open 
stoves could escape. They questioned our innovation of windows in the 
outside walls, but again we had our way. 

The broad fields of beans, peas, squash, and sweet potatoes grew, and 
we introduced a few tomatoes, of which they knew nothing and which 
they disliked. When we explained the virtues of spinach they agreed. In 
our honour they even put in a water-melon patch. The mother buffalo 
had cost a deal of money because she was with calf, but we housed the 
animals in pens, refusing to allow them to sleep in the houses. Naked 
above the waist and below the knees, the men tilled the soil, and their 
bodies grew brown and strong and beautiful and free from scabies. I 
conceived new theories about scabies and talked learnedly of "diet". 

Ducklings arrived in huge bamboo baskets, and the old men and little 
boys built a large low mat shed near a pond, carpeted it with a thick 
layer of straw, and raised a mud embankment in which to exercise their 
charges before giving them their brief daily swims. Connected with the 
mat shed was a low sleeping-space for the older men, for when the duck- 
lings were tiny the old men kept watch night and day to prevent them 
from piling up on one another to keep warm. With a long bamboo pole 
tipped with sprigs of long grass, the little creatures were scattered and 
herded about. Soon the ducklings grew into gangling creatures with long 
necks, and after a while they were old enough to be taken down to the 
flowing streams to feed themselves. 

The "cultural" training of adults and the education of children were 
placed in the charge of a woman teacher sent by the Mass Movement 
Department of the Army. Soon we began talking of a weaving institute 
to be connected with the farm. While on a trip to the city of Kinghsien, 
I had found a number of refugee weavers who had said they could make 
their own looms for eight dollars apiece. 

We approached the farmers about the weavers, and again they specu- 
lated long before speaking. They thought about the new houses that 
would be needed for the weavers, about money for the looms, and thread, 
and the maintenance of the weavers' families until the finished cloth 
could be sold. They also talked of spinning-wheels and of bringing in 
raw cotton from the Kinghsien region. It was a big undertaking as their 


practical minds organized it; and it was plain that I should have to 
write for more money. . 

The doctors and I thought of establishing other centres among refugees 
along the lower Yangtze, but trained organizers would be needed. 
There were 200,000 homeless refugees in the territory, but would the 
British Relief Fund and the Advisory Committee of the American Red 
Cross give the money? They gave vast sums to missionary workers 
although the missionaries only fed and housed the refugees. Chinese 
undertakings they seldom financed. I could hardly qualify as a mission- 
ary, and my connection with the Chinese armies also disqualified me. I 
sent the usual appeals, and eventually a little more money came in. 
But the entire sum never exceeded five thousand Chinese dollars, and 
some of it had to be spent on gauze for the hospitals. 

When not tilling the fields, the co-operative farmers found time to do 
a variety of work for the hospital or the Army. When there were battles, 
they selected their strongest men to carry ammunition up to the front 
and bring back the wounded ; this earned them thirty cents a day. We 
saw that they had become the strongest civilians in the valley, able to 
carry loads farther than any. Thinking of the "new diets", our doctors 
smiled in satisfaction. 

It was the co-operative farmers who built the delousing station for the 
hospital, constructed according to plan with mud bricks, iron rods, and 
bamboo. At the time I departed for new fields, just before the harvest, 
there was only eighty dollars left in the farm fund, but the new crops 
and the ducks were expected to bring in a considerable amount. The 
hospital had begun buying ducks to feed the wounded. 

At that time, too, I wrote an account of the farm and sent it to the 
British Relief Fund in Shanghai. A year and a half later, when I reached 
Chungking, the British Ambassador sent his car for me. To me a century 
seemed to have elapsed, but the Ambassador had not forgotten and was 
still smiling about the farm. He asked me if I could use some more 
money for it, and I said I could. 


IN A DRIZZLING rain in the middle of February 1939 Dr. Chang and I 
rode over the mountains to the west on a visit to the Fiftieth Army, 
whose commander, General Kwo Shuen-chi, had invited me to be his 
guest, I rode a captured Japanese horse which was fanky and gaunt, 
shod only on one foot, and had the heaves. 

As darkness began to gather, we entered the fighting zone of the 
Fiftieth Army and saw the shadowy forms of sentries guarding every 
pathway. Near an old stone bridge overhung by willows, a young com* 

mander hurried out and questioned my guards excitedly. He then 
darted to my side, snapped to attention^ and shouted : 

"Salute ! I have the honour to represent General Kwo Shuen-chi and 
to escort you to our headquarters." 

Near the bridge stood a guard of honour, a platoon of tall, handsome 
men who turned eager faces towards me. Accompanying them were 
special Szechuen sedan chairs, with carriers, and I dismounted and got 
into one. The young commander and the soldiers could not conceal 
their excitement, and again I realized what a tremendous thing it was 
for a Chinese army to have a foreign visitor. They fought in a world that 
not only had abandoned them, but supplied their enemy with the means 
for their destruction. They watched the skies for signs of international 
help, and to them I must have seemed like the first harbinger of spring. 

The guard of honour separated, some going before, some after us, and 
from my sedan chair I watched the swift marching of those in front of 
me. Their proud carriage, their occasional swift glances towards me, 
aroused in me a deep sorrow that I was only an individual representing 
no one. How deeply I regretted that I heralded no spring for them ! 

Before a small village a mounted soldier rode out, saluted the young 
commander, and asked if the foreign friend had come. Then he wheeled 
and galloped away, the hoof-beats of his horse fading into the darkness. 
One hour later we neared the outskirts of a village, saw the fluttering . 
light of pine torches, and heard a murmur of voices that sounded like a 
distant river. As we drew near I saw that thousands of soldiers and 
civilians were gathered on both sides of the road, including many officers 
clad in khaki and ladies in long gowns. A couple stepped forward. The 
man was in the prime of life, strongly built and with an exceedingly 
intelligent face. I stepped from the sedan chair, grasped his outstretched 
hand, and heard a deep warm voice saying : 

"As commander of this Army I welcome you!" 

"You honour me too much, General Kwo !" 

Madame Kwo, a slight little woman in a grey cotton gown, with the 
face of an intellectual, took my hand and held it in hers, welcoming me 
with warm words. While the voices of those pushing to see me rose in 
crescendo, General Kwo Shuen-chi introduced the members of his staff 
and their wives. From this moment on I found myself in a perplexingly 
formal world. 

The headquarters of the Fiftieth Army had just been bombed, but in 
preparation for our visit the village had been put in perfect order. 
Scores of villagers had been employed to sweep and clean the streets, and 
a small house had been prepared for us. This building had been cleaned 
and whitewashed and furnished with a few carved tables and chairs, 
arranged with the exquisite taste of old China. Two scrolls decorated the 
walls and on a polished carved table between them stood a large vase 
holding a single crooked branch of a flowering shrub. Two large, broad* 

leaved plantain trees, apparently dug out of some interior courtyard, 
had been planted in the small enclosure in front of our house. Broad 
leaves glistened against the white walls. 

Everything breathed the elegance and fragrance of an old culture. 
Such an atmosphere could never have been created in the struggling, 
slogan-shouting hurly-burly of the New Fourth Army; nor could it have 
sprung from Christian China with its half-baked imitation of the West, 
its cultural offshoots of America's Bible Belt. 

At the back of our small, lovely courtyard Dr. Chang found a new 
structure built especially for the occasion. It was a privy. Inside, two 
steps led up to the seat as to a throne. Around the opening was a 
gorgeous seat-pad made of purple and crimson cloth such as were once 
used to protect the useless bottoms of European dukes and duchesses. 
When I first saw this creation, I thought of the Duchess of Milan who 
had once asked Leonardo da Vinci to create a special design for her 
private night vessel. 

Dr. Chang and I glanced cautiously about to see that no one was 
listening before we indulged in a little ribald laughter, but she hastened 
to add : 

"It's feudal, yet it shows how much they welcome you." 

The Szechuen armies were considered the most backward in China, 
and the Fiftieth Army was one of them. But the war had made great 
changes in it, and it was now a mixture in which the old and the new 
struggled for mastery. Instinctive racial patriotism and the most back- 
ward practices and concepts mingled with the highest principles of 
modern humanity and half-digested ideas of democracy and socialism. 
The war was teaching it to modernize or perish. 

General Kwo Shuen-chi represented the modern tendencies, and some 
of the younger officers followed him by forming study clubs and sub- 
scribing to magazines and books. He was one of the most progressive 
and social-minded of nationalist commanders, but was impeded at every 
step by reactionary and corrupt staff officers who spent their leisure in 
gambling and smoking opium or in mere lethargy. It was an open secret 
that the trucks of this Army carried opium from far-away Szechuen 
Province to the lower Yangtze River Valley ; so that the local authorities 
had to fight not only the Japanese and their poisonous drugs, but also 
opium within. The traffic was secret, and officers had built up their 
own avenues of distribution. Tjbe Magistrate of Kinghsien had previously 
told me that he dared not search Szechuen soldiers passing through his 
district lest his men be shot. 

Up to the time I made this visit, my contact with the Fiftieth Army 
had been confined to its wounded and to one of its modern young 
officers. During battles the wounded of the Fiftieth Army had passed 
through the New Fourth Army valley. Many had been barefoot and in 
rags and all had still been wearing their thin summer uniforms. Those 

on the stretchers had lain trembling without a shred of covering, and the 
walking wounded had stumbled miserably along the paths, and at night 
lain down like homeless dogs against the walls of village houses. 

The^New Fourth Army had taken them into its hospitals, and before 
they had left they had gone from ward to ward, bowing their thanks 
to the patients and doctors. In the emergency dressing-station which New 
Fourth Army doctors had prepared for them, an officer of the old world 
had once lain on a stretcher and peremptorily ordered Dr. Chang to 
care for him before caring for the common soldiers. She had quietly 
ignored him, and when she had finally unbound the bandage on his 
hand, had found nothing but a slight scratch. 

Yet these soldiers had fought for their country. In enemy offensives 
they and the New Fourth had fought side by side like brothers. As their 
blood flowed in a common stream, so did friendship begin to flow between 
them. Perhaps the ever-increasing Fascist forces heard of this, for a new 
Political Director was sent from Chungking to re-direct the thinking of the 
Fiftieth Army. After his arrival General Kwo's influence began to wane 
and a campaign against the New Fourth Army percolated through the 
Szechuen troops. General Kwo and some of his officers opposed this, but 
the Political Director was a power unto himself, responsible only to his 
superiors in Chungking. He could send any report he wished without 
their knowledge, and he had the right to see all their reports. His work 
seemed to be that of a super-spy. 

On the night of our arrival we attended a banquet of welcome. 
Foreign food, dishes, silver, linen, and wine-glasses had been brought 
in for the occasion, and there were even place-cards, delicately painted 
by the wives of the officers. According to foreign custom, men and 
women sat side by side down the length of the white table; and with the 
exception of Madame Kwo, who was dressed as usual, all the other 
women appeared in their finest silk gowns, jewels, and foreign high- 
heeled shoes. 

Dr. Chang and I wore our usual uniforms. We had washed and even 
pressed them for the occasion, but we seemed to throw a pall over the 
banquet, and I felt like something the cat had dragged in. However, 
dignified little Dr. Chang bore herself like a queen and remarked after- 
wards that she was proud of the uniform of her country. To our surprise, 
our outfits shamed the women, and two days later they all appeared in 
bright new cotton uniforms like ours. Only Madame Kwo continued to 
wear her unpretentious grey gown. 

The wives of the officers were educated women, some of them univer- 
sity graduates, for an officer in China can claim the most elegant* 
Despite all their kindliness and graciousness, I still could not help observ- 
ing that they were healthy women who had studied in ease, married 
officers with property, then put their minds on ice. They did no work 
in the Army, but spent their days in idle gossip and mah-jongg gambling. 
02 201 

Only two of them seemed out of place. One was a pious young 
Christian girl, newly married, who had studied Western music in 
Shanghai. She moved like an unhappy ghost among the others, and I 
never once saw her smile. The other was Madame Kwo herself. A 
university graduate and formerly a teacher, she had left her three children 
in Szechuen and for months had shared all the dangers of war with her 
husband. She was not a Christian, and she was an austere patriot and 
afin enemy of extravagance, opium, gambling, and idleness. Some of the 
officers feared her more than they feared General Kwo. She seemed to 
be the Army's conscience. I also learned that she and General Kwo had 
borrowed money from their families in order to buy the necessary medical 
supplies for the Army. 

Each day I went by sedan chair to visit the various departments of the 
Army, including its hospitals. The hospitals had been put in their best 
order for our visit the whitewash was still damp on the walls. The 
medical officers and attendants were all unqualified and did not know 
even the origin of malaria or scientific methods for its cure. Little good 
it would have done them, in any case, for this Army had received only 
two thousand tablets of quinine for the preceding year in a malarial 
region ! 

One morning General Kwo and some of his staff took me to the Army 
Training Camp, where two hundred non-commissioned officers and a 
hundred educated youths were studying. The educated youths were 
being trained as political workers. I was asked to speak on the attitude 
of foreign countries towards China, and on Japanese propaganda and 
espionage in America and England. From magazines sent me from 
Shanghai, I had accumulated considerable information on both subjects. 
I could -not hide from these men who were fighting for their lives that 
countries other than their own also had traitors working for the Japanese, 
and I gave the names of Americans engaged in this work. 

The lecture developed into a conference which lasted many hours. 
Some of the questions I could answer, some not. But what I did observe 
was that the training camp was another facet of modern China where 
men strove to know everything that could strengthen them in their 

While this conference was going on, the roar of guns on the banks of 
the Yangtze could be heard from afar, for the Army was using its new 
artillery pieces on enemy shipping and positions. Once all talk ceased 
as we heard the roar of approaching bombers. The building was 
isolated in a broad valley, and instead of fleeing, we ajl sat and waited, 
each with his own ruminations on life and death. The planes passed 
over; we drew a deep breath and continued our conference. 

On another morning the Army put on a sports tournament in which 
headquarters guards, General Kwo and some of his staff, and several 
women took part. The Army placed great emphasis on physical training, 

and General Kwo was an ardent tennis enthusiast. A tennis-court, a 
basket-ball court, and a small track had been laid out, and to these 
sports they added old Chinese boxing and sword-play. In the bright, 
crisp air it seemed that I had never seen more beautiful or swifter bodies. 
These troops were physically far superior to the New Fourth Army. 
Turning to General Kwo, I asked him why he didn't issue a challenge 
to all the other armies along the lower Yangtze for a general sports 
tournament, adding that it would encourage physical development and 

He agreed, then hesitated and said : "I fear it would meet with political 

He meant, of course, the objections which political directors would 
have against the New Fourth Army. These directors existed for the 
purpose of preventing friendship between the Communist Army and the 
other forces. 

Often we gathered to watch the presentation of modern patriotic 
plays by the Army's Front Service Corps of educated students. The 
plays were good and the acting excellent, for almost all Chinese are 
talented actors. One evening the staff officers put on an old Peking 
drama for which they had bought gorgeous costumes. General Kwo was 
a hearty man who enjoyed everything, and he enjoyed the old opera. But 
these operas were regarded with contempt by modern China because they 
taught the feudal virtues. It was characteristic that the officers should 
present the old feudal dramas, but educated youth only modern patriotic 
plays. Here again were the two sides of the Army medal. 

Returning from the theatre that night, Madame Kwo suddenly turned 
to her husband and asked: "Who paid for those costumes? Each one 
cost hundreds of dollars!" 

"What's that? What's that?" exclaimed the startled General. 

"It's a disgrace to spend money in this way when we are poor and are 
fighting for our lives !" Madame Kwo cried. 

The astounded General had never given the subject a thought, but 
his ever-watchful wife had. As they left us, Dr. Chang grimly declared 
that Madame Kwo ought to have been commander. 

On another evening Dr. Chang happened to meet a brigade com- 
mander from the front, and went with him to the home of the chief of 
staff. As soon as they stepped inside the door, as Dr. Chang told me 
later, the sickly, sweet fumes of opium struck them full in the face. In 
the large reception room staff officers and their wives, including the 
Political Director and his wife, sat around mah-jongg tables, with piles 
of bank-notes next to them. They turned to the newcomers and, without 
any consciousness of wrong, asked them to join. Dr. Chang replied that 
she did not know how, but remained to watch. Madame Kwo, who was 
looking for Dr. Chang, came in at that moment. She stood in the door- 
way like a thin, grey spectre, speaking not a word. A whisper passed 


from table to table, then every man and woman rose and in total silence 
stared fearfully at her. 

Dr. Chang went with her, and they walked without speaking through 
the dark streets. On the outskirts of the village they found a pond, but 
could see nothing. The grey little figure still did not speak, but moved 
away and turned her back. Knowing that she was weeping silently, Dr. 
Chang went Up and took her hand. 

"Do not weep; I understand," she said softly. "There are two worlds 
in our country the old and the new. You and General Kwo are the new, 
and I also." 

Clasping hands, the two women returned to my room. 

Later in the evening General Kwo himself dropped in and remained 
for many hours, and that evening is one of my most treasured memories. 
We talked not at all as a Chinese and a foreigner, nor as a military man 
and a civilian, but as two human beings who longed for a new, free, and 
progressive world. Again it seemed to me that China possessed some of 
the most intelligent, best-informed, and courageous men on earth. 

Studying the statistics which I gathered in the Fiftieth Army, I learned 
that it had more dead than wounded. The explanation for this fearful 
condition was that this Army's relations with the common people were so 
bad that the people would not remain with it during battles to help 
evacuate the wounded to the rear. Its medical personnel were not only 
medically unqualified, but so backward politically that they sometimes 
fled from hospitals during enemy advances and left the wounded to get 
out as best they could. And despite the fact that everyone in China knew 
that a wounded Chinese soldier left on the, battlefield was always killed 
off by the enemy, this Chinese Army seemed to have no system for getting 
the wounded off the field. So far as I knew, there had never yet been a 
case of one Chinese wounded soldier taken into a Japanese hospital for 
treatment. Because of this, the Army had suffered losses of eight thousand 
dead and three thousand hopelessly maimed. 

In one of my evening conversations with General Kwo I told him a 
story I had heard of how one of his Army doctors on the Nanling front 
had fled, leaving a hospital full of wounded men to shift for itself. Nine- 
teen of them had crawled into the hills, where they had paid peasants to 
carry them to a New Fourth Army hospital. The General sat up rigidly 
and asked me for dates and exact facts. Then Madame Kwo at once sent 
for the medical officer. I repeated the facts, but the officer made excuses 
and even lied. I noticed that he seemed to fear Madame Kwo in par* 
ticular. Eventually, very much frightened, he backed out of the room 
with many bows. A silence followed, and then I said tbat I thought no 
individual could be held responsible for the low morale when the political 
education of a whole army was slack. 

General Kwo and I talked that night of the necessity of having his 
medical officers trained in the Medical Training School in Changsha, 

and of the heed for a branch of the school oh the eastern front. It was 
entirely too difficult to transport men across the face of the continent for 
a few weeks' emergency training when they might be needed at any 
moment if the Japanese launched a new offensive. 

Once I asked Madame Kwo why she did not enter the Army's medical 
service. She argued that she knew nothing of medicine. Neither did I, I 
pointed out, but we both knew a great deal about household order and 
cleanliness and we knew how many stretchers were needed and how 
much food. I had become convinced that a few good housewives in 
charge of Army hospitals would have saved more lives than many 
of the medical officers and their soldier-nurse assistants at the front. I 
could not see why the educated wives of the officers were not willing 
to give up their useless lives in headquarters and enter the medical 

In the report to the Red Gross Medical Corps which I wrote from the 
Fiftieth Army, I urged Dr. Robert Lim to send urgently needed medical 
supplies. I also asked for pocket manuals for the medical personnel. 
Finally, at the request of General Kwo, I urged Dr. Lim to review the 
Army Medical Service and propose changes in it. 

A telegram from the; New Fourth Army asked me to return at once to 
meet a Red Cross medical inspector who had just arrived there. I there- 
fore interrupted my visit to the Fiftieth Army to hurry back and report 
on my observations. 

A year and a half later General Kwo was removed from command of 
the Fiftieth Army because he was too progressive to meet the approval 
of the Political Director. He and many of his younger officers in the 
field had tried to prevent their Army from turning its guns against the 
New Fourth Army and away from the foreign invader. 


AT WAS LATE June when I approached the district town of Suencheng, 
south of Wuhu and south-west of Nanking. Five miles to the north was a 
strong Japanese position and, beyond it, other garrisons on the highway 
to the Yangtze. The motor highway along which my party and I walked 
was one of the many built by the Chinese Government in former years. 
From this point to the coast the region was one of the major battlefields 
of the country. Over it fierce battles had raged and were still periodically 
flaring up. 

Suencheng city had changed hands many times, the last time shortly 
before I arrived, when the Japanese had looted public granaries and 
carried away from 200,000 to 300,000 fiends (i picul equals a cwt.) of rice 
to Wuhu. In this occupation the Japanese had brought with them 


hundreds of degenerate Chinese from Wuhu, and a number of Japanese 
and Korean ronins. These jackals looted homes and carried everything to 
their masters, who permitted them to keep a percentage. 

What the Japanese had not destroyed, their jackals had burned. The 
entire region was like a nightmare. The highway was strewn with broken, 
overturned trucks, artillery chassis, and ambulances with the Red Cross 
insignia still showing dimly on their sides. All along the road were bomb 
craters and trenches half-filled with water and littered with derelict 
trucks, dead mules, and pieces of artillery. Charred ruins which once 
had been villages dotted the highway. A few ragged people wandered 
like ghosts among the ruins, offering for sale a few peanuts or boiled 

Darkness was falling and rain pouring down as we entered the out- 
skirts of Suencheng. Out of the gathering gloom rose fire-blackened walls 
and piles of bricks, ruined motor trucks, broken wheels, rusting cannon. 
Against some of the walls people had built low hovels out of broken 
beams, rusty gasoline tins, and rags shelters fit. for goats. With the 
coming of darkness these poor souls had gone to sleep, and across the low 
opening that servect as a door had propped crooked branches of trees to 
keep out prowling mongrels. 

A broad river flowed past the ancient crenellated walls of the old city. 
The two old stone bridges across it had been dynamited ; one was totally 
destroyed, and we crossed the other on rickety boards which could be 
withdrawn whenever the Japanese advanced. 

Before the war Suencheng had had a population of about a hundred 
thousand people, but tens of thousands had been killed in air-raids and 
only a few hundred remained. Along one side of a slippery cobble- 
stoned street were a number of low shops partly repaired and dimly lit by 
native candles or open lamp-bowls filled with peanut oil. On this street 
was a building in which the nude bodies of a dozen Chinese civilian 
women had been found after the Japanese were driven out. The sign 
on the door-frame facing the street still read : "Consolation House of the 
Great Imperial Army." 

Coming out on a main street, we saw a low grey stone building with 
the name of an American Methodist mission chiselled above the entrance. 
The walls and roofs still stood, but the windows were gone, and through 
the gaping hole where the door had been we saw that it had been totally 
gutted. This building had been used by the Japanese as a military court, 
and through its portals Chinese captives had been taken for "examina- 
tions" designed to extract military information from tljem. 

Directly across the street from this mission was an old well which, like 
many others, was filled with the dead bodies of Chinese soldiers and 
civilians. The waters of the city were contaminated and many people 
had died in a mysterious epidemic. The Army was filling up the wells 
and sealing them with cement. The cement over the one across from 

the mission was still damp. There was a wall behind it, and directly 
across it was sprawled a Japanese slogan in red paint : "For the New 
Order in East Asia." 

I stared at the well and the sign, then into the dark interior of the 
mission, which now seemed peopled with the spirits of the dead. The 
ghosts of despots were stalking the earth again, and I recalled that the 
Japanese had often proudly harked back to Genghis Khan, and had even 
tried to capture his grave in Inner Mongolia. The Chinese Government 
had removed his coffin to the interior. 

The two-storey inn in which we took rooms had once been an American 
oil station. The roof and front had been bombed away, but crudely 
repaired. From my room I could look through broad cracks onto the 
street below. There was absolutely nothing in my room but a couple of 
boards across saw-horses. A servant brought in a wash-pan of hot water, 
and when I looked at it suspiciously, assured me that all water was now 
carried from up river. ^ 

I unrolled my blankets on the boards and changed to my dry uniform. 
I had hardly finished when two Army officers were announced. One was 
a Colonel in the io8th Manchurian Division, which garrisoned the city 
and surrounding areas. Like many Manchurian Chinese, the two men 
were tall, personable, and exceedingly courteous. Hearing of my arrival, 
they said, they had come to welcome me. At the front a welcome always 
lights a warm flame within the heart. The front always seemed to be a 
land of impersonal love, somewhere beyond ordinary friendship or love; 
you always reach out to men dedicated to death or to a struggle for life. 
The two men asked me if I could come at once and address their regi- 
mental training camp in a building a few streets away. 

We had been planning to have supper, for we had eaten nothing except 
peanuts since morning and the journey through the heat and rain had 
been exhausting. They insisted that we be their guests, and after dining 
in their headquarters we went to the training camp. A hundred non- 
commissioned officers and about half that number of political workers 
studied in the institution. With their regimental officers they gathered 
in the dark courtyard, for lights were few and dangerous. As they 
marched in I saw a column of strong, broad-shouldered men and caught 
the dim outline of dark, grim faces. 

There in the darkness I tried to deliver a message that would bring 
courage and conviction to men who must fight and perhaps fall. Brush- 
ing aside the confusion in my own country, where predatory greed and 
appeasement of Fascism sought to drown out the protesting voices of 
liberals and workers, I tried to conjure up a picture in which millions 
of common people, and a few enlightened leaders like President Roose- 
velt, Senator Pittman, and Colonel Henry Stimson sympathized with and 
supported China. I told half-lies. I strung together isolated news reports 
of strikes by maritime workers in California, Canada, England, and 


Holland against the shipment of war materials to Japan; of a boycott of 
Japanese goods; and of organizations collecting money for China. 

The next year and a half I lied like this to the soldiers and civilians in 
the war zones. Had I spoken the truth that night, my speech would 
have been a cry of suffering and warning that would have sounded 
something like this : 

Brothers ! I am a citizen of a country that is supplying your enemy 
with the means of killing you and your people. A few of us oppose this 
and are burdened with the shame of blood-guilt. But the industrialists 
of my country value profits above human lives, and most of my people 
consider you "Chinamen'* who "take in washing for a living". 

You may ask why this is, for, unlike you, my countrymen are literate 
and have civil rights which enable them to develop in almost any way 
they wish. If they choose to follow the carrot which their masters 
dangle before their noses, they can ; or they can use their brains and 
fiercely reject it. The world lies at their feet, but to take it means 
study, struggle, and thought. We have had great teachers of human 
liberty, and the foundation of my country is revolutionary. Yet my 
people know less of the world than you, though you perhaps cannot 

As I move among you, I am amazed at your magnanimity towards 
me, a citizen of a land that aids your enemy. 

No, I did not speak like that. I lied to them because men fight best 
when inspired with hope. But I could not hide all the evil facts from men 
who might soon die. After I had spoken, out of the darkness came that 
song of homesickness that Manchurians always sing Fight Back to Tour 
Native Home. Then they marched away as they had come, like shadows 
out of darkness. 

On that same day we climbed Pagoda Hill inside the city walls and 
looked down upon the sea of destruction which had once been a city. 
And this had been a city in which the old had been giving place to the 
new. There had been a network of new paved streets and avenues, an 
electric-light plant, modern public schools, and even a technical college. 
Beyond the city walls a modern suburb had grown up, a suburb which 
was now nothing but a mass of ruins. Japanese airplanes had followed 
the modern streets of the town and levelled almost every building to the 
earth. Acres and acres bad not even a wall standing, and now groups of 
destitute people rummaged in the debris, picking out bits of iron, porce- 
lain, locks, furniture, clothing, or shoes and placing them on sale along 
the ruined streets. 

On the hill beside us towered an old pagoda, shattered but not 
destroyed. Empty gun emplacements were partially hidden by foliage, 
and the sides of the hill were a network of trenches. On the wall of the 

pagoda some Japanese had pencilled the lines of a sentimental poem 
about the "beauty" of a destroyed city. 

We walked to a far end of the city, where, on a ridge of hills, three 
modern schools, one of them a technical college^ had once echoed with 
the voices of youth. All the buildings had been bombed and many 
burned. Piles of half-consumed furniture still lay in the larger halls. In 
a few of the rooms, still intact, a primary school was in session, and in 
others the Manchurian Division had started a new training school. 
When we appeared, teachers dismissed classes and the pupils streamed 
out, lined up, and sang patriotic songs. 

At the foot of the ridge lay the campus and buildings of a former 
American missionary high school. Like the Chinese institutions, they 
had been used by the Japanese as barracks. On their inside walls were 
pencilled Japanese slogans and indecent words. In the corner of one 
room, near the floor, we found these Japanese lines : 

Fighting and death everywhere and now I am also wounded. China 
is limitless and we are like drops of water in an ocean. There is no 
purpose in this war. I shall never see my home again, 

One morning the streets of Suencheng reverberated with marching 
feet. Troops mingled with strong, broad-backed armed civilians from 
near-by villages, and the entire population marched, singing, and with 
guns clanking, to the public square. At the end of the square rose an 
ancient bell tower from which warnings were always sounded when 
planes approached. Repaired buildings and charred walls were decor- 
ated with banners and slogans in both English and Chinese. Here again 
was the eternal cry of the Manchurian soldiers: "Fight Back to Your 
Native Home." 

As we passed along, two soldiers with paint-buckets and brushes 
smiled at us. Just behind them was a new slogan, the paint still wet. 
It read : Long live the "Manchester Guardian", voice of democracy. 

A small group of young women, members of the local Women's 
National Salvation Association, were giving the final touches to decora- 
tions as we climbed the ladder to the platform of the bell tower. They 
were educated women in their twenties, eager and intelligent and, on 
this occasion, glowing with pride that a woman had been the first 
reporter to come to the war zone along the lower Yangtze. Many men 
speakers were on the programme that day, but in honour of our sex a 
woman introduced me. She rubbed the equality of women into the hide 
of every lowly man in that audience, repeatedly waving her hand in my 
direction and calling upon them to view this pillar of emancipated 
womanhood who dared what no man reporter dared ! 

The crowd gazed at me with deference. Indeed, they could do little 
more, for they were packed so tightly that they could only turn their eyes. 

The situation was inspiring. Here we stood amidst the ruins of a city, 


its wells filled with corpses, and its people so poor they owned only the 
clothes on their backs. The enemy had a strong garrison just five miles 
to the north, their planes in Wuhu could reach us within a few minutes 
if they thought us worth their steel, and there was not one anti-aircraft 
gun to welcome them. Every creature standing before me was gambling 
with death. Yet men stood here speaking of the certainty of final victory 
and a woman insisted on the equality of the sexes. 



Night of August 26, 1939 

Before another week is passed I shall have realized a dream of many 
months to cross the broad Yangtze between the Japanese positions and 
go into that vast hinterland of the enemy rear in central Anhwei Province. 
There are 15,000 guerrillas of the New Fourth Army there now, and one 
of the regular armies has penetrated into it. Today General Yeh Ting 
said it would be "like going through darkest Africa. It will take months, 
and at the end will come Chungking." 

August 31 

Today at noon staff headquarters delivered a telegram from Jawaharlal 
Nehru, asking where and when he could meet me. He has just arrived 
from India. He is the guest of the Government and will certainly remain 
for months and visit all the fronts. I am anxious to see him. I have wired 
and asked if he can meet me four months hence at Laohokuo, the head- 
quarters of the Fifth War Zone in Hupeh Province to the west. If he 
cannot, then I must again cross the Yangtze and try to get a truck for 
Chungking. For I wish to propose large-scale medical aid from India to 
China, and to suggest that he send Indian volunteers to be trained in 
guerrilla warfare. 

I have been re-reading the autobiography which Nehru wrote in 
prison, and its spell is still upon me. I suppose all autobiographies find 
an echo in the hearts of many people, and the more universal they are, 
the more is this true. Many passages in Nehru's book resound in my 
own heart, for example : 

I have become a queer mixture of East and West, and out of place 
everywhere, at home nowhere. ... I am a stranger and an alien in 
the West. . . . But in my own country also, sometimes, I have an 
exile's feeling. 

I have been in China for ten years, and when I came it was to me only 
a possible gateway to India. But as China conquers most people, so has 
it conquered me. As Nehru dreams of visiting his azure lake in the 

Himalayas, so do I still dream of one day visiting India. Like him, I fear 
I may grow too old to carry out my original plan. ... I have reviewed 
Nehru's book for the Army monthly Rang Di> and the Army has set a 
man to translating the entire book into Chinese for publication. . . . To- 
morrow evening we begin marching towards the Yangtze. I shall visit 
the Governor at last. . . . 

This was my last diary note south of the Yangtze. On the morning that 
we left, Vice-Commander Hsiang Ting told me with subdued excite- 
ment that the Soviet Union had just signed a Non-Aggression Pact with 
Nazi Germany, and added: "The whole international situation is 

That familiar phrase aroused my suspicions and worried me. It 
savoured of the incantations with which men hypnotize themselves. 
Though I pretended to no political omniscience, I could not see wherein 
the "whole" international situation was changing. I accepted the Soviet- 
Nazi Pact as a temporary expedient, but never doubted for a moment 
that a Fascist war against the Soviet Union was inevitable. The Munich 
Pact the year before had been a barefaced attempt of British and French 
imperialists to drive Nazi armies eastwards against the Soviet Union. 
The Soviet-Nazi Pact had been the Soviet reply a desperate reply. 
Nevertheless, the Nazis and their Japanese allies still remained the most 
dangerous enemies of the Soviet Union and of all mankind. Underneath, 
the international situation remained unchanged. 

In the following months I tried to keep track of international develop- 
ments, but found this difficult. For over a year thereafter I saw no 
foreign publications, and only one Chinese newspaper that published 
world news. The only international change I heard of was the rise in 
various countries of deliberately inspired isolationist and peace move- 
ments. I read that powerful American isolationists had their base in 
Congress and that some of their leaders had been decorated by Hitler. 
The Communists of England, France, and America had also started 
"negotiated peace" movements with the "German people". 

Chinese often asked me significant questions. One was whether the 
refusal of the American Congress to fortify Guam was due to Japanese 
bribery; I thought it doubtful. Chinese Communists asked why the 
British workers had opposed universal conscription, and I thought they 
refused to have human lives conscripted unless the wealth of the ruling 
class was conscripted. For a time the Chinese Communists called the 
second World War an imperialist war, but although the Soviet Union 
maintained a truce with Japan, the Chinese Communists never talked of 
a "negotiated peace** with the Japanese people; to have talked thus 
would have been like injecting a drug into the blood-stream of China. 
They knew that the chief enemies of mankind were the Nazis and the 
Japanese. Even though the Government was permeated with reaction- 

aries, the Chinese Communists encouraged unity at the same time 
urging broad social reforms that would inspire the people to stronger 
resistance against the enemy. 

After eight months along the Yangtze River Valley I was venturing 
into what had seemed to me a vast no man's land the area north of the 
Yangtze. Up to this time I had been with armies which could retreat 
to the rear if forced to do so. This would no longer be possible. The 
territory north of the great river was surrounded on three sides by the 
enemy: along the Yangtze on the south; along the Tientsin-Nanking 
railway on the east ; and along the Hwei River and the Lunghai railway 
on the north. The Japanese also occupied a number of walled cities 
within reach of their main forces scattered along the railways and rivers. 
In addition, two or three motor highways intersected the region. 

However, millions of Chinese still lived in this great territory and hgld 
all but the enemy fringes. The New Fourth Army commanded some 
15,000 guerrillas, whose ranks were constantly increasing, but whose 
poverty was also very great. 

The column of men with which I would go consisted of one hundred 
trained military and political workers, among the latter a small Front 
Service Corps of educated youth. We also would take the first medical 
unit to service the northern guerrillas : one qualified doctor, N. C. Gung, 
graduate of the Scotch missionary Mukden Medical College, four 
qualified women nurses, and ten educated students who had just 
finished a six-month course in the New Fourth Army Medical Training 

Of all the men in our column, only four knew the route of march or 
when we would leave. On September i we were given orders to start, but 
to spread the rumour that we were going to the rear. At dusk a long line 
of carriers arrived, for the medical unit alone was taking enough supplies 
to last six months, and the military and political units were carrying 
educational material and a printing press. Each person was ordered to 
strip his personal belongings to the barest essentials. I had a carrier for 
my typewriter, paper, camera, medical supplies, and light bedding, and 
the Army assigned a special officer to accompany me. I also had a special 
bodyguard, Tsai Loh, the same tough young guerrilla soldier who had 
accompanied me on other journeys up and down the Yangtze. As an 
"old Red Army man", Tsai Loh dearly loved dangerous and interesting 

Since news that a foreigner was passing through the battle zone might 
reach the Japanese, I was supplied with a sedan chair in which I -would 
have to sit completely covered up when passing through the villages. At 
dusk our medical unit with its carriers moved out. After an hour's march 
we waited in an isolated grove of trees for the others. They appeared 
almost immediately, led by Commander Feng Da-fee, a man who was 
not much over thirty and yet had formerly commanded troops of the 

Red Army. He had been dean of the training camp of the New Fourth 
Army and was now in charge of our entire column. 

When all had assembled, Commander Feng called us to order and 
gave the first report on the exact situation in the region through which 
we were to pass. He painted no rosy picture. Before the night was 
finished, he said, we would be in a zone in which there was almost 
constant fighting. It was the safest time of the month to travel, for the 
moon did not rise until one or two in the morning, and as a rule the 
Japanese never ventured out at night, for guerrillas lurked everywhere. 

Every precaution, he said, had been taken to keep our plans a secret. 
Dnring the previous week the Army had sent civilian and plain-clothes 
military spies up and down the Yangtze and into Japanese-garrisoned 
towns to watch for any unusual Japanese activity. So far nothing re- 
markable had been noted. On the march there was to be no talking, no 
smoking or lighted matches, and no flashlights. Each was to follow the 
man directly ahead of him. The nights were dark ; if the man ahead 
stepped up or down, the man behind should at once do likewise. 

"Tso-ba!" ordered our commander, and we began to move out single- 
file along the narrow paths. 

Two or three hours passed, and then the head of the column whispered 
over his shoulder to the man behind him. This whisper spread down the 
line, and we all immediately sat down on the path and rested. There was 
not a sound. 

Ten minutes later another whispered order came. We rose and 

So we passed through the night, and at dawn came to a small village. 
We were on a battlefield, and in the growing light I could see the figures 
of civilian sentries, with guns, standing guard on the surrounding hills. 
We ate and lay down to sleep, resting secure in the hearts of the people. 

In the late afternoon we rose, ate a meal of rice with a bowl of boiled 
cabbage and eggs, marched for an hour to an isolated spot, and halted to 
hear another report from our commander. There was nothing new. 
When passing through villages from now on, he said, we should take pains 
to be very quiet, lest we awaken the sleeping people. Our shoes were 
made of cloth, even to the soles, and made no sound, but even so we were 
asked to walk softly through villages. 

We passed through the sleeping, silent villages, and only now and then 
did we see the dark figure of some civilian standing guard on a path, his 
rifle showing above his shoulder. From the direction of the mud walls 
with their low thatched roofs we always heard sounds of sick men moan- 
ing. It was a malarial region, but the Army did not have the medicine 
or jnedical workers to care for all the people. 

Once we came to a cross-road. A tall civilian, with a gun, stood in the 
shadow of a tree and whispered : "Turn to the left P* 

Beyond this one command, and the whispered order to rest or march, 


no word was spoken throughout the night. Up winding mountain paths, 
down through valleys, and up mountain paths again, we made our way. 
We went so slowly along the dark paths that the dawn found us still on 
the road. We saw the peasants beginning to harvest their ripened grain 
along the mountain terraces and in the valleys. They harvested with 
sickles, then gathered huge bundles of the reaped grain in their hands and 
whipped the ripe heads into big open wooden bins in the fields. Some of 
their older men, armed with guns, moved along the hill-tops, and some 
stood watch at the far end of the valleys. 

On September 3, before crossing the Yangtze, we took our last rest in 
a deserted temple high in the mountains. Before going to sleep we ran up 
the highest peak and looked down on the gleaming river, ten miles away. 
We saw the black hulk of what seemed to be a cruiser nosing its way up 
river. To the west we could see a pall of smoke over the Japanese- 
occupied river-port Tikang. Feng Da-fee pointed to two towns lying on 
the plain below us, about five miles from the shore of the Yangtze. 
"Those are the enemy garrison points," he said. "Tonight we will pass 
directly between them." 

In the late afternoon we rose and, without eating, moved forward. 
The path was blocked by felled trees, and we had to pick our painful way 
through the brush. We were in the Hung Hwang Shan mountains, 
where the ist Battalion, Third Detachment, New Fourth Army, had its 
headquarters. I remember sitting in the lovely, cool little courtyard of 
the commander, Chen Lin-hung. He and the vice-commander, Ma 
Chang-yien, had formerly been peasants and also commanders in the 
Tenth Red Army Corps, whose leader was the famous Fang Chi-ming, 
long since dead. 

These two commanders with their chief of staff and a number of other 
men gathered to talk with us. They had thrown a cordon sanitaire around 
the village to prevent any news of our arrival from reaching the Japanese 
garrisons on the plain below. 

I was in the midst of youth. With the exception of Feng Da-fee there 
was not a man in the courtyard over thirty years of age. They literally 
seethed with energy. They told us that they had laid an ambush for the 
Japanese the night before and wiped out many of them. As we ate they 

"Our fighting is not guerrilla warfare, not mobile warfare, not posi- 
tional warfare it's just nothing at all ! There are no more than a thou- 
sand enemy soldiers on the plain below. If all our troops were concen- 
trated along the river and organized in small units for guerrilla and 
mobile warfare, we could clean out this region !" 

As they began to discuss our crossing they spread a military map on the 
table, but we hardly needed a map, for we could see the plain below and 
even the distant Yangtze. When we reached our port of embarkation, 
the Japanese at Tikang would be just twenty li (seven miles) to our west 

and their gunboat would be able to reach us in a few minutes. It would 
take forty-five minutes to cross the Yangtze. Our boats would be nearly 
half-way across before the enemy learned that we had left. Add fifteen 
minutes to that and we would be near the north shore. The troops along 
the shore would in the meantime have opened up with heavy machine- 
guns to divert them. 

"As a rule it's just a little jaunt," said one of the commanders. "Our 
men like it." 

A typical reaction to all this was that of Dr. Gung's personal orderly, 
Tsai Ban-tang. He was a poor peasant of about thirty years of age who 
had joined the Army a few months before. He had been a little afraid at 
first, but now he had caught the challenging spirit of the battalion and 
walked around proudly, laughing, snapping his fingers as if saying to the 
Japanese: "Come on, you bastards!" 

I also remember vividly how Tsai Loh, my bodyguard, stood tall and 
straight by my side, watching as I wrote in my diary. I had given him 
my pistol to examine and put in order. Finishing, he said: "Come!" 
and I turned to put the diary in my attache case. But I saw that Tsai 
had the case over his shoulder, for he was young and strong and always 
insisted on relieving me of every burden. 

We left the courtyard and went to a small grove of trees, where I found 
a remarkable gathering. On one side was grouped the special company 
of armed fighters who were to escort us to the shore of the Yangtze, and 
sitting on the earth near us were all our own groups and the small army 
of carriers. The carriers were all testing their burdens. It was growing 
dark. Picking our way over the piles of luggage, we took our places with 
the medical unit. My secretary was already there, talking in a low voice 
with the others. 

Commander Feng's voice came through the growing darkness: "At- 
tention, comrades !" He then began a last-minute report. This morning, 
he said, a Japanese gunboat had anchored in front of the very village 
from which we must embark. Enemy launches had come ashore and the 
Japanese had searched all men, forcing them to remove their clothing, 
feeling their heads for the tell-tale creases left by a soldier's cap, and ask- 
ing if they had seen or heard any soldiers. No one had heard anything. 
The gunboat had then moved off and anchored before Tikang. All this, 
however, was the ordinary terrorist practice of the enemy, and we were 
not to consider it unusual. Reports from men sent up and down the 
river and into enemy garrisons showed no remarkable enemy activity. 

He continued :. "When we pass between the enemy garrison points on 
the plain below, do not waver if you hear fighting from either the right 
or the left, but march steadily forward. The same order applies when we 
reach the river. We have troops for ten miles up and down the Yangtze; 
they will fight and are under orders not to retreat. Our sentries will know 
every Japanese move, and if an enemy gunboat passes while we are on 


the shores of the river, we will wait until it has passed, then cross. In case 
anything serious happens, of course we must retreat and return here* 
The chief thing is to keep a cool head and obey orders. If you are 
separated from die rest of the group, there is always a way out if you 
keep cool. But when we are once out on the river there can be no 
retreat, ... 

"Some of you are sick with malaria and some have sore feet. Disregard 
this ; summon all your strength and make a supreme effort tonight. We 
will not halt for long periods of rest. There must -be no sound, no lights 
and no coughing. Try to quiet the barking dogs. Carriers, test your 
burdens and stick grass in all places that squeak. All of you comrades 
with white face-towels should stick one end inside the back of your collars 
and let the end hang down so the man behind you can see it in the dark- 
ness. Soon we will be on the plain and will be able to see the paths better. 
Do not fall behind. Now I give you all ten minutes to make final 

There was a rustling as the men made ready. Ten minutes passed and 
Commander Feng's voice rose through the darkness : 


I saw the dark shadows of our armed escort split in two, one going in 
advance, one remaining to bring up the rear. Then the rest of us began 
to move out, a column of about five hundred men. I could hardly see, 
so I reached out and placed my arm on Tsai Loh's shoulder as we moved 
single-file down the long, winding mountain path. 

As we approached a darkened sleeping village, a chorus of mongrels 
would begin to bark. They heralded the approach of our advance 
guards and continued to announce us until the last man had vanished. 
By that time our advance guards had reached another village, and the 
dogs there would begin. Nothing could quiet them. 

On the path there was no sound save the faint pad-pad of soft-clad 
feet mingled with the low creaking of bamboo poles over the shoulders of 
our carriers. Often I could see nothing. But sometimes the .clouds above 
us shifted, and then by the bright light of the stars I could make out the 
dim, moving shadows of two or three men in front of me. 

Once as we neared a village the whisper "Rest" came down the line. 
We dropped to the earth in silence. One carrier lay flat and tried to light 
his pipe, but hardly had the match begun to flame before a guard Was on 
him, knocking the light from his hand. 

As I sat there I saw beneath a dump of bushes a small temple to the 
Earth God with a bright new candle burning in its Jittle alcove. The 
candle had just been lighted a signal that all was well. My bodyguard 
put his mouth very close to my ear and whispered that we must now pass 
directly between the enemy positions. 

Down the column came the whispered command : "March quickly!" 

We rose and began to move quickly, sometimes dropping into a slow 

trot. Suddenly I saw two soldiers, each armed witji a tommy-gun, 
running in the rice-fields on either side of me. They had been ordered to 
my side to protect me, no matter what happened. 

Sometimes we crossed rolling, barren hills, and then we crouched low 
and ran, lest our dark figures be seen in outline by enemy sentries. 

I heard the night birds, the wind through the trees; and when the 
clouds shifted, the stars above seemed never to have glowed so bright. 
Once, far away on our left, I heard a faint call, like the bellow of a 
buffalo calf. But it sounded three times and had something weird about 
it. Then, far to our right, I heard an answering call, and knew that 
guerrillas or civilians were giving us a signal a signal that all was well. 
For no whispered command came down the line and no warning shot 
sounded in the night. Through me swept a great love for the Chinese 
and for their guerrilla and civilian patriots. I loved them with all my 
heart that night, for many men knew of our passing and yet all had 
kept the faith. 

Again the whispered order "Rest" sent us dropping to the path, and 
Tsai Loh whispered joyously in my car : "We've passed through the 
enemy garrison points !" 

All the men began to punch and nudge one another happily. My 
resting-place was on the summit of a slope. Suddenly the flare of matches 
lit up the sides of a deep ditch in which the men were crouching. In a 
moment the glow of cigarette tips had crept down the whole slope. They 
were like fireflies drawn up in a long column, and they clearly revealed 
the location of our entire detachment ! Tsai Loh also saw. He gave an 
angry grunt, leaped into the dark rice-fields, and began running towards 
the rear. Soon I heard the soft padding of many feet. Our armed rear 
guard swept past, and as they ran down the slope I saw all the little 
fireflies disappear one by one. 

After ten minutes we were on our feet and marching again. We ap- 
proached a village, but to our surprise no dogs barked ! Our column 
seemed to be slowing down and stopping. My section moved into the 
village street, and I could distinguish a long line of dark tables, each 
covered with dozens of bowls. The ghostly hands of men, women, and 
children were reaching out, offering us hot drinking-water. Just as I 
reached out to take a bowl a dog began to bark wildly somewhere in the 
village. The figure of a little boy leaped from behind a table, sped across 
the street, and disappeared in the direction of the sound. There was a 
low strangling yelp, then silence again. I returned my rice-bowl to a 
shadowy hand, pressing it in silent thanks, and hurried to catch up with 
those ahead of me. 

Nearing the mljjhty Yangtze, we came out on top of the high earthen 
dykes that hold back the river during the floods. Dark lagoons slumbered 
on either hand breeding-places of the malarial mosquito. Then a traitor 
appeared: the red half-moon rose like a balloon over the mountains 


behind us and cast its ruddy glow across the white dykes and the dark 
lagoons. I could see a part of the long column in front of me. We cursed 
under our breath and began to hurry and even run. Our carriers dropped 
into a slow, rhythmical dog-trot, breathing heavily. 

Suddenly a whispered command to halt fled down the column, and 
in confusion and foreboding we came to a dead stop, crouching, listening, 
staring intently through the night. Low voices began to murmur con- 
fusedly, and then above them came an ^ngry command : 

"Buyao tan hwa!" (Stop talking!) 

Tsai Loh was pointing, and following his finger I looked far down the 
dyke ahead and saw a yellow blaze flare up inside the walls of the village, 
then die down suddenly, as if it were paper burning. 

"March quickly!" came the whispered order, and again we hurried 
forward, knowing that all was well all save the traitor moon. 

I heard the thud of running feet, and again our rear guards sped past 
us. They Tanned out and surrounded the village ahead of us. Their dark 
figures soon moved along the top of the village wall, rifles in hand, and 
some ran through the streets to stand in the shadow of houses, watching 
for any signal flares that might be sent up by traitors. 

Down the dykes came a civilian in white jacket and trousers, sauntering 
along as if out for an evening stroll. As he passed me, I lowered my 
head lest he sec the face of a foreigner. Right behind me he halted and 
said: "Everything's in order!" and came sauntering back. 

We did not enter the village, but halted in a depression on the shores 
of a tributary of the Yangtze. Here two great river-junks lay creaking, 
their sails up and their gang-planks down and waiting. Our carriers ran 
up one plank, quickly and silently dropped their burdens into the open 
hold, and then ran down the other. Within a few minutes the junks were 
loaded. As we waited, I heard whispering and low talking. Tsai Loh 
took my arm and said : "Take this junk it goes first!" My secretary and 
I ran up the plank, forgetting to bid Tsai Loh farewell. He was returning 
that night to the mountains, going back with our armed escort. Then 
I learned that those who took this first junk had a better chance of sur- 
viving : it would leave ten minutes before the other. 

Many of our people were exhausted and two women nurses had been 
sick for hours with a malarial attack. Ignoring the danger, they all fell 
flat on the deck, closed their eyes, and slept like the dead. The great oar 
at the stern of our junk began to creak and we saw that we \^ere pushing 
off. Soon we came out on the broad bosom of the Yangtze, blanketed in 
a silvery haze. A rolling and mighty river, it stretched before us like an 
ocean. At this point it was five miles wide as the crow flies, but actually 
seventy li (about twenty-three miles) from our place of embarkation to 
the village where we were to land. 

We anxiojusly peered at the dark shore and disappearing buildings 
behind us. The half-moon was now high above, casting a long silvery 

path over the waters. Flaky clouds floated across its face. The wind 
blew strong and fresh, and we cried out in joy as it bellied out the great 
ragged sails and sent us leaping forward. Our eyes scanned the mist, 
watchful for enemy gunboats ; and we strained our ears for any sound 
of firing. . 

Suddenly the sails went limp and the boatmen began to tack back 
towards the receding shore! Fear seized us. Each minute seemed an 
eternity. Finally the boatmen turned the junk, the sail filled out again, 
and we sped on and on towards a long black line that gradually became 
a shore edged with trees. On our left was the low, sandy beach of an 
island where we would have landed had the enemy attacked. Two big 
junks were anchored near it. As we approached, one of our boatmen 
leaped up as if catapulted and bellowed furiously : "Who are you?" 

"Who are you?" came back a contemptuous shout. Our boatman was 
infuriated. "Get out of here!" he yelled. A mocking laugh answered. 

The second junk also challenged us, and this was more than our boat- 
man could bear. He roared like an angry lion, demanding to know who 
they were and what they were doing out at night. A calm voice answered : 
"We're the Fanchang Guerrilla Inspection Unit. Who are you?" 

All the fury left our boatman, and in a contemptuous voice he answered : 
"None of your business !" 

I laughed. We were in a land in which the nights belonged to the 

As if he had not just been frothing with rage, our boatman began to 
talk of the enemy in a matter-of-fact voice : 

"This morning the maggoty sons-of-incestuous-mothers came to our 
village and made us undress. They stripped me naked and felt my head 
for the crease of a soldier's cap and asked me : 'You Chinese soldier?' I 
told the t&-t& (louse) that I'd never seen a soldier ! . . . I know a man who 
just came back from Wuhu. Before they let him enter, they stuck a needle 
in his arm and made him pay a dollar for it ! They called it an injection 
against cholera, but of course they are liars. They certainly put poison 
in him. 

"Wang bah tan!' 9 he cursed vilely, and spat. 

His picturesque references to the mothers of the Japanese eased the 
atmosphere and we all began to talk. 

"What would you do if the Japanese should come?" my secretary 
asked me. 

"Well, I have my pistol," I remember answering. "And if everything 
else should fail, there's always the Yangtze." 

He agreed, for toe all knew that the Japanese took no prisoners. 

The trees on the north shore became clearer and, beyond them, build- 
ings. Down the river shore we saw the dim figures of sentries, rifles on 
their backs. As our junks touched land we leaped over the sides and ran 
excitedly towards a crowd of people. The whole village was up, waiting 


for us. A man in a white jacket and trousers came forward, introducing 
himself as the chu official. 

We walked into the village and sank to rest on a broad flat threshing* 
floor which gleamed white in the faint moonlight. A group gathered, 
put their heads together, and began singing the Guerrilla Marching Song. 
Ten minutes later the second junk landed, and our commander, Feng 
Da-fee, congratulated us on our military discipline. We had done much 
better than he had expected. 

We still had ten miles to walk to the home of a big landlord who, with 
his brothers and sons, led the "North Shore Guerrilla Detachment". 
Their ancestral home was the guerrilla headquarters and was big enough 
to shelter all our column. We would spend a few days there. 

It was a pleasure to be able to walk side by side with the men instead 
of in single file. The dyke was high and broad, and a fine road ran along 
its top. But we were too weary to reach the landlord's house, and Com- 
mander Feng decided that we should sleep the rest of the night in a 
hamlet four miles inland. 

The village lay silent in sleep, and only a few people came out to see 
what the noise was. Leaning against the houses in the public square 
was some harvesting equipment. We pulled down huge mats, drying- 
trays, and benches and unrolled our bedding on them. Some men 
climbed inside the wheat-bins to sleep. I was one of the few who pos- 
sessed a mosquito net. I hung this from the branches of a tree so that it 
would drape over me, but few of us could sleep, for the huge black 
mosquitoes that infest the north swarmed on all sides. The men built 
smudge fires of paper and leaves and kept moving about restlessly. 

We rose at the first signs of dawn and prepared to march six miles 
to a place where we would get breakfast and perhaps some rest. To Dr. 
Gung, who walked by my side, I complained that I was weary, hot, 
damp, and sticky and that never before had I seen mosquitoes as big 
as birds ! 

On one side of the dyke flowed a broad canal, and on the other 
stretched fields of wheat, corn, and kao-liang (a kind of sorghum). We 
seemed to have left the rice-lands behind. The south shore of the Yangtze 
had been semi-tropical; simply by crossing the river we seemed to have 
entered the temperate zone ! Around me was the same kind of landscape 
which I had so often seen as far away as Peiping. 

That was how we crossed the Yangtze. . 







1 LOST TRACK of time, but it must have been September 12 or 13 
when we arrived at the headquarters of the Fourth Detachment of the 
New Fourth Army in central Anhwci Province. Dr. Gung and I had 
spent a part of each day doctoring people stricken with malaria. This 
scourge had spread over all China since the beginning of the war. 
Southern armies moving back and forth across the face of the country 
had carried it to the most inaccessible regions. We took some comfort 
from the fact that the Japanese also had malaria. But they also had a 
good medical service, and every Japanese doctor and nurse had been 
mobilized for the war. 

As we approached guerrilla headquarters, we came out upon a wide 
plain, with groups of solidly built buildings and temples among over- 
hangirig trees. Beyond, to the north and west, rose the foothills of the 
Ta Pieh mountain ranges. The plain before us was famous as the place 
where, in the remote Three Kingdoms period, the villainous Tsao Tsao 
had assembled and trained his troops. It was now covered with people 
hurrying towards the village from every direction. Some were soldiers, 
some were civilians, but all lined up and began shouting slogans of 
welcome and singing the Vanguard Marching Song. 

Chang Yun-ee, 1 Commander of the Fourth Detachment, and Lai 
Chuan-chu, his chief of staff, came out eagerly to welcome us. A bath 
which refreshed our weary bodies was followed by an excellent supper 
served on long tables in a courtyard overhung with climbing vines and 
shaded by towering willows. Reclining bamboo chairs were brought out, 
and we lay back and spent another memorable evening in conversation. 

Commander Chang Yun-ee was slight and short of build and wore a 
strange smile that was not exactly a smile. He was an intellectual, a 
one-time commander in the Kuomintang armies who had become a 
Communist and had been for a period of years Mao Tze-tung's chief of 
staff* He was a thoughtful and well-read man, from whom I constantly 
learned much that was new and stimulating. 

I asked him for details of a story I had heard in south Anhwei. Its 
background was this: Before the war this Fourth Detachment, then 

* Killed in action by the Japanese in the summer of 1942. 


called the Fourth Red Army, had fought on the borders of Anhwei and 
in the adjoining Hupeh and Honan Provinces. It had been called a 
"model Red Army" because of its guerrilla tactics and its organization 
and education of the common people. After it had suffered defeat in a 
series of fierce campaigns in 1933-4, ^ main force had evacuated and 
eventually joined the central body of the Red Army in the north-west 
(which became the Eighth Route) . Guerrilla units had remained behind, 
however, fighting sporadically. In November 1937, after the national 
united front was firmly established, three thousand of them had as- 
sembled and became the Fourth Detachment of the New Fourth Army. 
Kao Ching-ting, a Communist, was then the commander. In May and 
June 1938, when the Japanese began their many-pronged offensive 
against Hankow, Generalissimo Chiang ordered the detachment to 
organize into two regiments and to strike at the rear of the enemy along 
the Tientsin-Nanking railway and along the highways in Anhwei. 

Separated from the main body of the New Fourth Army by the 
Yangtze River, Kao Ching-ting soon developed into a local militarist. 
His head grew big with power, he took concubines, became corrupt, and 
arrested and killed anyone who opposed him. Medical supplies sent to 
him from general headquarters were sold to shopkeepers, but Commander 
Kao kept demanding more. 

In the late winter of 1938 Commander Chang Yun-ee was sent from 
general headquarters to investigate Commander Kao and to reorganize 
the detachment for more efficient fighting. But Kao had built up a 
powerful clique of personal followers against whom Chang Yun-ee could 
do nothing. In May 1939 General Yeh Ting, Commander-in-Chief of 
the New Fourth Army, had crossed the YaVigtze on a tour of inspection, 
but Kao had thrown special bodyguards around his headquarters and 
waited menacingly. Such was the background of this detachment. 

I asked Commander Chang what happened after that. He smiled his 
strange smile and sSid that General Yeh, totally unarmed, had walked 
right through the cordon of Kao's bodyguards and said : "Commander 
Kao, I place you under arrest !" And to Commander Kao's utter stupe- 
faction, his bodyguards had not fired a shot. General Yeh even brought 
him to public trial before his own soldiers. They voted for his death, 
and in June 1939 General Yeh ordered the sentence to be carried out. 

Two of Commander Kao's concubines who lived near headquarters 
were both expecting children by him. They received a maintenance 
allowance from the Army for it was felt that the fault was not theirs. 

When I heard this story, my admiration for General Yeh Ting in- 
creased, and I remembered his stubborn mouth, his fearlessness, his 
vision, and his militant, vital culture. 

This guerrilla detachment had recently captured a number of Chinese 
who had become Japanese spies. One was being held in headquarters. 
In the hope of saving his life, this fellow admitted that as a result of an 

investigatipn he had made of the general headquarters of the Army to the 
south of the river, the whole valley in which the headquarters was located 
had been bombed and over a hundred people killed and wounded. I had 
been in the very midst of that bombing and, lying in a shallow ditch, 
had watched with horror as the planes, flying low, tried to hit the hospital. 
The planes had even gone after a herd of draft buffalo, machine-gunning 
and killing sixteen of them. 

The prisoner talked freely of a spy ring of which he was a member. 
These rings were organized in groups, each headed by a "big man", a 
Chinese landlord or merchant. The particular group to which the pris- 
oner belonged had its centre in Tunling, a town on the south shore near 
the Japanese garrison at Sunan. Ordinary spies were paid fifteen dollars 
a month, he said, but sometimes the "big men" paid poor men a dollar 
for each piece of military news they brought in. The poor men did not 
know for whom they were really working, and since their homes had 
been destroyed, they welcomed every cent that came their way. 

In the evenings Commander Chang Yun-ee and members of his staff 
sat in the courtyard of the peasant home where I was staying. They 
talked of the economic origin of banditry and poverty, and of the great 
landlords of central Anhwei, some of whom owned thousands of acres 
of land. The landlords had fled far to the rear or to port cities under 
foreign protection, but had left agents behind to collect the same rents 
and the same usurious rates on loans as before the war. The puppet 
Governor of the province, appointed by the Japanese, was Ni Tao- 
liang, a big landlord who still made use of his feudal relations with his 
friends and tenants to organize puppet troops. There were now about 
five thousand of these in the province, commanded by relatives of the 
puppet leaders. 

But the Japanese seldom trusted the conscripted puppet soldiers to 
fight the Chinese guerrillas, using them instead as garrison troops in 
occupied towns. The puppets were bad fighters, and the guerrillas had 
already captured and disarmed hundreds of them. Bandit gangs were 
paid by the Japanese to disturb the countryside, and few people dared 
travel without the protection of troops. The puppet troops could be 
re-educated and taken into the guerrilla detachment, but the bandits 
seldom or never. 

Japanese tactics in dealing with the people had become very cunning, 
said the commanders. When they had first invaded this province, they 
had burned villages and slaughtered the people, thinking to conquer by 
terror. No Chinesfe had been permitted to live within seven miles of the 
Tientsin-Nanking railway. But in recent months some smart Japanese 
intellectuals had thought up a "reconciliation" approach. Around the 
lunar New Year of 1939 they had begun to confiscate the land of land- 
lords who had fled from the railway zone rather than become traitors; 


then the Japanese had divided this land among the peasants, given each 
villager ten cents as a New Year's present, and distributed candy and 
cakes to the children. They had even instructed Japanese soldiers not to 
rape the women and girls. 

In confiscating and dividing the land the Japanese were parading 
around in the cast-off clothes, so to speak, of the old Red Army. They 
had also learned from the Chinese the value of slogans^ and had painted 
the walls with such pronouncements as "Peace and prosperity to China !" 
"Lay down your guns and take up the plough!'* "Oppose the Com- 
munist bandits!" and "Oppose corrupt Government and support the 
reformed Government at Nanking !" 

The Japanese even took a leaf from the book of the Chinese Red Cross 
Medical Corps, and began to send out mobile medical units to vaccinate 
the people against smallpox, cholera, and typhoid and to treat them for 
other ailments. 

But their appeasement tactics nearly always failed. Since they were 
essentially an army of conquest, everything they did was for their own 
protection and power; and their soldiers had tasted blood too long to 
respect orders. The Japanese soldiers, moreover, were poor men who 
wanted to send money and valuables home to their families. Unlike 
their officers, they got nothing from the drug and opium traffic, or from 
confiscated Chinese banks and industries; so they took ruthlessly from 
the people. The people were thus compelled to fight them. Every man 
knew the true face of the Japanese, and all their slogans, their candy and 
cakes, their feigned kindness to children and animals, could not hide it. 

At reveille each morning the doctors and nurses moved out into the 
hills to conduct physical examinations of the troops. This was a new 
phase of the Chinese Revolution. The soldiers had never before had a 
physical examination, and the New Fourth Army was the first in China 
to introduce the system. The practice was not universal even here, and 
it was not yet possible to examine all new volunteers. 

The examinations aroused tremendous excitement among the soldiers 
and the civilian population, and they spoke of them almost with reverence. 
Radio news of the arrival of the first medical unit had been sent to all 
the fighting units, and the first seven stretchers carrying wounded men had 
already arrived. A new hospital was being prepared in a village. When 
Dr. Gung told one wounded man that medical supplies would not arrive 
until the following day, the man answered : "It does not matter. Just to 
see a doctor makes me feel better/' 

On the fourth day, when the mass meetings of welcome were over, the 
women's conference a thing of the past, and the many interviews ended, 
I had time to accompany the medical unit on its rounds. The bugle 
awoke us at dawn, and with the doctor and nurses I walked for an hour 
through murmuring bamboo forests to the temple which housed the 

training camp of the three central Anhwei guerrilla detachments. One 
hundred and eighty lower officers, and soldiers selected to become lesser 
commanders, were studying in this camp. There was a teaching staff 
of fifteen, and henceforth a new course in hygiene would be given by 
one of the women nurses. 

By noon the physical examinations were finished and the results 
cursorily summarized. Of the students 100 per cent had trachoma, 20 
per cent hernia, 30 per cent malaria, 20 per cent caries, 50 per cent 
scabies. There were many cases of intestinal disorders, and eight men 
had active tuberculosis. There was no venereal disease. This record was 
about the average for all the troops, and was perhaps the average for the 
civilian population from which the soldiers came. 

I spent the afternoon talking with the training-camp students about 
their lives, ideas, studies, and fighting records. Most of them were 
former Red Army men, and of these the majority were poor peasants. 
The rest were artisans. Most had already fought from eight to ten years. 
Some of those who had joined the Army after the Japanese invasion had 
been selected to study because of their fighting records. There was one 
intellectual, a student, destined to be a political director. 

The men took me through their billets and classrooms. A large wall 
newspaper was pasted up in the main lecture hall, and the halls were 
hung with slogans like "Fight and study!" and "Consolidate the united 
front !" The billets were clean and orderly, but more barren than any- 
thing I had so far seen. Down the length of each room were rows of bare 
boards laid across saw-horses, and at the head lay each man's "blanket", 
neatly folded. This "blanket" consisted of a double layer of dark blue 
cotton cloth two yards long this and nothing c!lse for summer or winter. 
On wooden pegs above the "bed" hung each man's rifle and ammuni- 
tion belt, and beneath it his shubao, or cloth kit-bag. The "blanket", the 
shubao 9 the rifle, and the uniforms on their backs were the sole possessions 
of these guerrillas . ' 

I asked to examine the contents of some of the shubao, and half a dozen 
were immediately placed before me. Atypical one was that <j>f Hu Chia- 
chen, a twenty-seven-year-old platoon commander. He had been a 
member of the old Red Army for seven years before the Japanese in- 
vasion, and then had fought continuously at the front until selected to 
study. He came from a poor peasant family which owned i i mio (3 mao 
make an acre) of land and had a debt of $300 (on which they paid an 
annual interest of 36 per cent). Hu had learned to read and write in the 
Red Army, had be$ n wounded five times, and now had malaria. 

His shubao contained one short piece of candle, half a tube of tooth- 
paste, an old toothbrush, a scrap of soap carefully wrapped in a rag, one 
letter from his family written by a letter-writer, a seal, three pencils, 
thirteen books and pamphlets, six lecture notebooks, and copies of the 
Anny newspaper (>yith passages marked). Of books he had Protracted 
H (Chima) 

Warfare and The New Stage in the War, both by Mao Tze-tung, General 
Secretary of the Communist Party, and texts on strategy and tactics, 
military science, elements of social science and natural science. Of Army 
pamphlets he had Political Work in the Puppet Armies, Work among the 
Enemy, Japanese Primer, Army Rules, Army Song Book, How to Write for the 
Wall Newspapers, and War-time Child Education. 

I asked Hu if he had learned the Japanese language. He knew many 
words and phrases and could shout slogans in Japanese, he said, but 
could not yet talk with captives. 

He kept his lecture notes under three headings : military, political, 
cultural. Under "cultural" were such general subjects as reading and 
writing, arithmetic, geography, and natural science. The political and 
military lectures were exhaustively outlined. The lectures on guerrilla 
warfare included, for example, such subjects as the general principles 
of guerrilla warfare ; where to carry on guerrilla warfare ; tasks ; reserves ; 
guerrilla warfare and the people ; how to destroy enemy communications ; 
capture of enemy transports ; espionage ; supplies ; education. 

The sub-heads for political lectures included political work in the 
Army before, during, and after fighting ; political work among the people 
in the war zone ; different political parties and their principles ; political 
work in the enemy Army ; and the policies of the national united front. 
This same notebook also contained detailed notes on the economic, 
political, and cultural aggression of imperialist powers against China. 

Under the tide "Tasks of the Chinese Revolution" were treated such 
topics as the present situation, its peculiarities and problems ; causes of 
tendencies to surrender and compromise; Japanese inducements to 
wavering elements ; compromise and surrender as a road to death ; why 
wavering elements are ready to surrender, but are determined to fight 
the Communists ; and the future of the war of resistance. I noted that all 
of this was from the Marxist viewpoint. 

I turned to the notebook on "cultural subjects", and opened to a lecture 
on natural science. Here there were notes on the sun, the earth, causes 
of weather, eclipses, tides, the planets, stars, the polar star and how to 
find it, comets, clouds, and so forth. 

These kit-bags with their contents showed what was perhaps typical of 
the system of education imparted by all the training camps of the New 
Fourth Army. It was the only education many of the men had ever 
received, and what they learned they were expected, with- the help of 
the political directors, to teach their troops. 

The study of natural science had only recently been introduced ; it 
existed in no other army I visited. When I asked to talk with the science- 
teacher, a soldier brought him to me. I glanced up and then sat staring 
at the face above me. It was deformed and twisted, as if someone had 
tried to chop the head in two but had failed. A broad, deep, black scar 
started from the nose, ran across the cheek and jaw, down alopg the neck 

under the ear, and stopped just short of the spinal column in the back. 
The scar sprayed out on both sides, as if the flesh had been torn by some 
jagged instrument, and the fractured jaw had thrown the mouth to one 

The teacher stood in silence, waiting. Then I looked above the scar 
into his eyes and rose to my feet. They were as level as the eyes of death, 
and in them was an expression beyond all earthly things, beyond all 
pain and suffering. 

From his twisted mouth came the slow but clear words : 

"I also was a member of the Chinese Red Gross. That is why my face 
is deformed. The Japanese tried to chop off my head." 

I gasped, finally recovered, and began asking questions, trying as 
gently as I could to draw his story from him. During the general retreat 
from Shanghai this teacher, Chang Yen, had been a member of a Red 
Cross first-aid unit that had established temporary dressing-stations 
along the roads of retreat. On November 8 it established a station near 
Chinpu, south of Shanghai, below a hill on which stood a French 
Catholic mission and observatory. Near that place a company of Japa- 
nese had suddenly attacked the unit. 

"Our ambulances*', said Chang Yen, "had a red cross on each side 
and we all wore broad Red Cross arm-bands. We had no guns and could 
only run. The Japanese killed nine of us. Some Japanese rose up right 
in front of me and I saw a big sword with jagged teeth down one edge 
such as the enemy uses to saw through barbed-wire entanglements." 

Chang Yen paused, turned his head slowly, and stared into space. 

"When I returned to consciousness," he continued after a moment, "I 
was lying in a little stream. I dipped up water and threw it over my face', 
and it was bloody. I crawled up the bank, but could see no one. Our 
ambulances were partly burned, and dressings and medicine were 
scattered about. Then I saw a man's hand appear above a grave- 
mound. When I raised my hand he came running and helped me 
dress my wound. 

"This villager and others had hid in holes dug along the banks of the 
stream, covering the openings with branches and weeds. He carried me 
to a dugout and kept me there until one day he told me that the Catholic 
priest on the hill would cure me if I would permit. That night the priest 
came, and he and the villager helped me up the hill, and I lay in the 
priest's home for three weeks. There were thirty other wounded men 
there, some soldiers, some civilians. Japanese soldiers sometimes came 
and asked to search for soldiers, but the old priest said it was his private 
home, and if they entered, there would be complications between France 
and Japan. 

"After three weeks the priest gave me some clothing and money, and 
peasants led me over the battlefield into the interior. The villages were 
in nans, and only a few old people tried to hide in them. The decaying 


corpses of our soldien and people lay everywhere. The air was sickening. 
After a number of weeks I reached south Anhwei and heard that the 
New Fourth Army was being formed to fight the enemy in the rear. I 
volunteered to fight as a soldier, but the Army said the soldiers needed 
knowledge. So I began to teach natural science because I had been a 
science-teacher at Woosung before the war." 

When he had finished I asked leave to take his picture, explaining that 
it would be proof of his story. 

"Proof?" he repeated in amazement. I explained that there were 
many people in foreign countries who did not believe such stories, who 
thought them fabricated. "Why shouldn't they believe?" he asked, still 
utterly baffled. 

"I don't know," I answered feebly. "Perhaps people like to see and 
hear only pleasant things." 

He lowered his eyes and kept silent, and a feeling of shame flooded over 
me. With something like $arcasm he said I could take the picture. To 
keep him talking, I hurriedly asked how he liked Army life. 

"Like it?" he answered. "I never thought of liking or disliking it it 
has to be done. The only thing I don't like is the lack of teaching material. 
We haye nothing, though I've written a small text-book and made a 
globe and a few things like that. If you could collect material for us, it 
would help." 

I promised, but it was over a year later, when I reached the far west, 
before I could fulfil the promise. 


On the evening of September 18 Dr. Gung and I went to staff head- 
quarters to bid Commander Chang Yun-ee farewell. I was leaving for 
Lihwang in reply to the Governor's invitation to visit the provincial 
capital. The commander, ill with malaria, sat up in bed and asked me 
what my observations had been in the training camp. It was by no 
means as good as the camp in general headquarters, he added, for it was 
new and lacked trained teachers. 

I told the commander of the stories the men had related to me about 
battles with the Japanese and what they had seen of enemy strength and 
weaknesses. The Japanese were so well equipped, so well fed and clothed, 
they had said, that it took three Qhinese to capture one Japanese, and 
even then they generally had to wound him. They accepted without 
complaint all the difficulties of their life : poor weapons, little ammuni- 
tion, bad food and clothing, and the lack of medical workers and supplies. 
Instead, they talked of the ways they might overcome difficulties that 
would have appalled Western soldiers. 

One soldier told how he had been wounded while attacking a Japanese 
motor convoy along a highway leading from the Yangtze port/city pf 
Anking. The soldier said that after supper one evening a dvilian had 
come running with news of an approaching consroy. Immediately the 

soldier and many villagers had made for the highway and taken positions 
along the sloping banks. Soon they saw five enemy ammunition trucks 
approaching slowly, guarded by a cavalry unit of about fifty men. The 
guerrillas knew that horses could not be driven down the embankment. 
So they waited until the convoy was directly abreast of them and then 
attacked the horsemen with hand-grenades. The soldier said : 

"I saw the drivers leap out and run wildly down the road, right among 
the plunging, falling, and screaming horses. Some horses dashed down 
the embankment and killed themselves and their riders. How many men 
we killed I do not know, but I counted twelve in our first attack and I 
saw others bleeding and slumped in their saddles. We captured six men, 
tyit all were wounded. We had to kill three of them because they would 
riot stop shooting at us even after they were wounded." 

Without delay the villagers had begun emptying the trucks. Even 
women and children came with carrying-poles. It was a tremendous 
haul, and afterwards the people brought grass and wood and set the 
trucks on fire. They stripped the Japanese dead of everything except 
bare uniforms and heavy leather shoes, which no guerrilla would wear 
because they were too heavy and made too much noise. When the fight- 
ing was ended, the guerrillas had twenty-two new rifles, a number of 
blankets, and five horses. Three of their own men had been killed and 
two wounded. 

Commander Chang listened to the stories, and once or twice wrote 
something on a note-pad. Then he asked me what I thought of the 
education itself. I told him I thought the teaching of political subjects 
and geography too abstract. The men were learning the names of various 
foreign countries, but had no conception of their location on the globe. 
In particular, I said, they lacked a map. Some of the political training 
also seemed too theoretical. The Chinese intellectuals who taught such 
subjects often possessed nothing but book knowledge, and most of their 
concepts were based on the writings of foreign authors. But China itself 
also had a revolutionary history and great leaders. To me it seemed 
utterly artificial to hear slogans appropriate to the industrial develop- 
ment of the Soviet Union applied to under-developed China. 

Commander Chang interrupted me and gave orders to his chief of 
staff to send to the training camp the only map of the world immediately 
available that which hung in headquarters. 

It was only a gesture, but behind it lay a great deal the will to teach 
'and to learn in spite of everything. 


fVB HAD WALKED since dawn up jagged mountains, across the 
floors of valleys, along narrow paths where no animal could go. We rested 
in \iUagerwii0se streets were bordered by open gutters filled with the 

and by then there Were not many of them left. I did not go so far, for I 
was wounded; but I heard all about it afterwards. Oiu\ Commander 
had said we ought to escort the devils right up to their barracks." 

"That was a warm welcome and, a very polite farewell," I remarked 
with admiration, and the men laughed. 

"Now the lessons of this battle were many," the story-teller added, as 
if quoting from a text-book. "First, a guerrilla unit in a certain place 
should continue moving to new locations, particularly if close to the 
enemy. We did that. But our intelligence service was too slow; our 
reserves could not come up quickly enough to help us exterminate the 
enemy completely. That was a weakness. Third, after opening fire we 
<iid not charge quickly, and many of the enemy escaped. That was also a 
weakness. Those were the lessons we learned." 

I asked him what kind of work he intended to do now that he could 
no longer fight. He wanted to go to the training camp and learn to do 
political work, or go into a transport station. "In a transport station", 
he explained, "I might see people coming and going. I'd like to learn 
how to work a radio and hear messages from the whole world. We don't 
learn much about the outside world up here. You are the first foreigner 
I have ever seen." 

By this time the room was filled with men, some sitting on the floor, 
some on benches, some standing. Wherever I moved I touched someone. 
The candlelight flickered on interested, excited eyes. Instead of answer- 
ing my question about his name, the man to whom I now turned asked : 
"Is it true that you have a machine that you can write on with all your 
fingers at once and that it goes very fast?" 

My secretary brought my typewriter and I opened it and wrote. 
Gasps of astonishment resounded through the room, and a voice asked 
how much the thing cost. When I told them the price in both American 
and Chinese money, they were staggered, and the man with the strikingly 
sensitive face cried out : "You are very rich !" 

I denied this, and even insisted that all Americans were not rich ; but 
when I began to answer questions about how much money an American 
worker earned per day, one man interrupted : "Of course you mean five 
to ten dollars a month! You said a day" No, a day, I insisted and, ringed 
by gaping mouths, explained the cost of living and how much money 
was spent on food, rent, clothing, shoes, medicine, education, and so 
forth. They were amazed to know that workers' children went to school, 
not just for a year or two, but a number of years. 

"Do the American workers have a Red Army?" one of the men asked, 
and when I said no, he wanted to know why not* I was soon engulfed fay 
questions: What did an ocean liner and a factory look like? How fast 
did American trains travel? How did moving pictures work and What 
did they look like? What was a piano? I demonstrated my camera, 
after which it was passed from hand to hand and eye tq eye, I drew 

maps; I talked about photographs; I discoursed on the origin and pre- 
vention of malaria, typhoid, dysentery, and cholera; I pointed out the 
virtues of democracy ; I explained that the earth was round and that I 
once left China, visited the Soviet Union, Germany, France, and America, 
and then came back to China ; I told them what I saw in the Soviet 
Union and in Hitler's Germany, arid answered their questions about how 
the workers and peasants lived in these countries. 

The hours passed, the table was covered with peanut shells, and our 
tea-bowls were filled time and again. Midnight came and passed, and I 
said that all men should be in bed. They argued that I was the first 
foreigner that had ever come to them and that if I was rich enough to 
travel around the world, they could not see why I should want to come 
to the enemy rear. Then they asked me if I had children and why I was 
not married. When I explained that I had been married and divorced, 
and that I found life at the front and in the enemy rear far more interest- 
ing than anything else, the man with the striking face exclaimed ad- 
miringly: "You have the spirit of a Bolshevik!" I said: "No," but he 
said: "Yes!" 

Then they asked me to sing some American songs. So I sang American 
songs and they sang some guerrilla songs, and finally I grew so weary 
that I turned to the man with the sensitive face and said that I had come 
to gather stories of the wounded, but it had been as hard as fighting a 
battle. He smiled and gallantly answered that if I would remain they 
would put me in their intelligence service ; he felt certain I would make a 
very smart spy. I assured him that I would consider it an honour to spy 
on the Japanese, but that I really must go to bed. He regretted this, but 
said that there would be a big mass meeting the next morning and that 
they expected me to speak on the strength and weakness of both the 
Japanese and the Chinese. Would three hours be long enough for my 
speech? he asked ; I Assured him that it would be. Would I be expected 
to sing a song also? I asked him; and he assured me that I would. 

He then serenely added that I also would be entertained at a dinner 
in the garrison and that the men expected me to speak on the international 
* situation. There would be no time limit, and there would be questions 

"My God !" I exclaimed. "I can well imagine." When my secretary 
told him I had mentioned the name of God, the men all turned wide eyes 
on me and asked me if I was a Christian. To them Christianity meant 
missionaries, missionaries meant foreigners, and foreigners meant im- 
perialists. When I replied that I was not a Christian, they asked me why 
not, and a sea of faces bent forward in happy anticipation of another 
long discussion. I said something about my need for a little rest, then 
dragged myself to the luxury of a board bed piled high with yellow rice 
straw* fresh and sweet. In my honour they had piled on a lot. Bending 
down to unwrap my puttees, I felt dizzy. At last I climbed up on the 

rice straw and sank back, saying to myself: "And you came to gather 
stories from the wounded ! Fat chance !" 


OR ONE WEEK we walked westward through a sea of mountain 
ranges that rose ever nearer the sky. The midday sun burned us to a 
leathery brown and the nights cracked with cold. The autumn air was 
strong with the tangy odours of pine, birch, and chestnut, and sometimes 
we rested in bamboo thickets on grassy slopes spangled with bluebells 
and lavender autumn flowers. Clumps of maple flamed among the pines. 

From the slopes we would descend into sunny valleys where newly- 
garnered corn turned threshing-floors to gold ; and the sorghum-like kao- 
liang, from which the treacherous bei-gar was made, lay fermenting in 
bamboo baskets. 

Sometimes it was difficult to realizfe that we were at war. I recalled the 
gory stories of a few foreign correspondents who had made flying trips to 
China. Two in particular had written of an "enemy rear" which they 
had never seen and had conjured up scenes of perpetual carnage. True, 
when the Japanese poured through this section in their mighty drive on 
Hankow, vast regions had witnessed such carnage. But the Japanese had 
never had the man-power to overrun and hold down this huge province 
with its thirty million people. Most large towns had been bombed, some 
were still bombed even now, and many villages had been raided and 
burned out, particularly those that lay in the line of the Japanese advance. 
Despite this terrorism, however, most of the province had by now been 
cleared of the enemy by the combined efforts of the powerful Kwangsi 
Army the 2 ist Group the New Fourth Army guerrillas, and a number 
of local guerrillas and hsien (county) militia. There were still fierce battles 
along the railways, rivers, and motor highways and in the large occupied 
cities on these routes of communication, but Chinese authority had been 
re-established almost to the very edge of occupied cities. In some cities the . 
Japanese were almost prisoners, never daring to venture out except in 
strong columns and during the day. 

Despite this, we never trusted the planes that sometimes roared above 
us, and always sought shelter under trees until they had passed. Some 
were in search of larger prey ; others were transport planes plying between 
the far north and Yangtze cities. 

I was looking forward eagerly to my first contacts with those Kwangsi 
armies which had left their native south-western province when the wfcr 
began and had thereafter fought on every major battlefield. The 2ist 
Group Army had its base in the Ta Pieh mountain range in western 
Anhwei. Its Commander-in-Chief, General Liao Rev was also Governor 

of the province, and was known as a progressive administrator as well as 
an able military man. 

I soon began to see signs of the many changes which had taken place 
under the General's administration. Once we came to a wooded vaileyt 
in which five high schools had united to build a group of new bamboo 
and thatch barracks. Three such high-school centres with a school en- 
rolment of nearly 15,000 students were located in safe retreats in the 

During the Japanese advance on Hankow, 1 7,000 students and 500 
teachers and their families had moved to far-western China. Thousands 
of other students, however, had remained behind to help the armies, 
guerrillas, and civilian population and were now pursuing their studies. 
In this centre, students and teachers alike wore coarse green homespun 
uniforms like those of soldiers, and their lives were fashioned entirely 
after that of soldiers. With no maps, no scientific equipment, and only 
the few text-books that could be transported from the far west or could 
be printed in Lihwang, the teachers taught almost entirely from memory. 

I had previously seen one of these high-school centres near Kinghsien, 
south of the Yangtze, and there was another farther north in Anhwei. 
The three institutions were the intellectual core of the new administrative 
and educational life which was being organized in the enemy rear. 
Certain graduates took competitive examinations, and the successful 
ones were sent to the universities or colleges of the far west as State 
scholars; but most students remained to become the future leaders of 
the province. 

In the typical small town of Maotangchang (population 10,000),, I 
made a brief study of the pao-chia (administrative) system which the 
provincial authorities were then reorganizing. As we entered the streets 
of the town we met a group of five students, three girls and two young 
men, who had recently come from the provincial capital, where they had 
been trained in the new Political-Military Training Camp. Two of the 
girls were teachers in the town's primary school and one was a teacher 
and also the village head in a near-by locality. The two young men 
were in charge of military and political training of a local Self-Defence 
Corps made up of fifty armed full-time men and thirty reserves, all 
peasants. *As soon as the harvests were finished, the two men would 
bc^in training the thousand able-bodied men in the town. 

The town leader, an educated man nearing thirty, called on me one 
evening and explained his work. 

This pao-chia system had both harsh critics and heated defenders* 
When introduced by the Central Government in former years, it had 
been a powerful weapon against the Red Army, for by means of it every 
member of a group of ten families, or even of a hundred families, was 
held responsible if any one of then* sheltered a Communist. Only in 
Kwangsi Province had the system served as a prelude to democracy 

and even there all officials were appointed, not elected. When, the 
Kwangsi Army became responsible for Anhwei and a Kwangsi General 
was appointed Governor, the K)lfrangsi system was introduced. Defenders 
of the system said that, in time, all lower officials would be elected, and 
eventually even the magistrates. But the ruling party, the Kuomintang, 
had, under one pretext or another, always postponed these first steps 
towards democracy. 

The hsien (county) magistrates received their orders from the Governor 
and transmitted them to the administrative units under their control. 
Periodically the magistrate called a conference of town and village 
leaders in his headquarters to deliver and discuss Government orders. 
There was indeed some approach to democracy in such a lowly adminis- 
trative unit as the town of Maotangchang itself: once a month there was 
a meeting attended by the heads of each group of one hundred families; 
this was called the Pao People's Conference. There was also a general 
monthly conference of the heads of each family. These conferences dis- 
cussed national and local problems and were held responsible for the 
enforcement of Government orders. 

Maotangchang maintained its own Self-Defence Corps, primary school, 
and air-raid sentries, and the merchants and gentry had formed a 
Buddhist "Red Swastika Society*' to care for air-raid victims. There 
were two men in the town who were said to know something about first 

The town also had a Mass Movement Council of representatives from 
various anti-Japanese associations of merchants, peasants, women, youth, 
and children. These mass associations had first been organized throughout 
Anhwei by mobile units of the Kwangsi Student Army during the 
Japanese drive on Hsuchow in the previous year. This Student "Army" 
consisted of 300 uniformed young men and women trained in methods 
of mass mobilization and political work. The Mass Movement Council of 
Maotangchang called meetings on national holidays, conducted spring 
and winter sowing campaigns, led the movement for preparing winter 
garments for the soldiers, spied on the enemy, and popularized con- 

The Provincial Government had just called for thirty conscripts from 
this town. The draft board it consisted of seven members of the gentry 
selected 140 men to draw lots. When the men left for camp the totfrn 
gave one dollar to each as travelling expenses, the local merchants pre- 
sented each with a face-towel, a toothbrush, and tooth-powder, and the 
whole town turned out to bid them farewell. 

In a manner which would not offend, I remarked to the town head 
that I had heard many harsh charges brought against the conscription 
fyatexn, and had in fact personally observed that the Jtoor were icon- 
scripted, while the rich fled to safety, sent their sons or daughters abroad, 
or even got off with the payment of a few dollars. Yes, the young official 

answered in level tones, that was often true. When he had studied 
in Lihwang, the Governor had lectured against this form of corrup- 
tion; since he had come to Maotaj^gjfehang, nothing like this had 

Yet I could not believe that a draft board made up entirely of the 
gentry could make an honest selection of conscripts. I had heard that 
one rich man's son in the town had been conscripted, but when I in- 
vestigated I found that he was actually the son of a peasant who happened 
to be well-to-do. 

A few days later, high in the majestic Ta Pich mountain ranges, we 
approached Liupiehtung, a large walled town near which the 2ist Group 
Army oiaintained an artillery training camp. The town had been 
bombed a number of times, many had been killed, and the Japanese 
often sent in spies in the guise of merchants or refugees. Slogans and 
coloured posters against Wang Ching-wei and other traitors screamed 
from every wall. Others indicated that we had definitely left the territory 
of the Communist New Fourth Army and had entered a realm in which 
other political ideas prevailed. Not that they were reactionary; every- 
where, in fact, there were slogans like "Rich men give money, poor men 
give labour" ; "Good treatment to families of anti-Japanese fighters" ; 
"The Three People's Principles of Sun Yat-sen are the highest law of 
resistance and national reconstruction"; "Support national education 
and wipe out illiteracy." . . . 

This whole region had once been the base of the old Chinese Soviet 
Government, guarded by the same N,ew Fourth Army guerrillas whom 
I had but recently left. Along the approaches to the town towered huge 
stone blockhouses, relics of civil wars and at present occupied by Kwangsi 
soldiers, who now seemed to be interested only in the Japanese. The 
sentry at the town gate hailed my New Fourth Army bodyguard as 
brothers in uniform, but as I passed he stared in amazement at my blue 
eyes and shouted: "Hu-chow!" (Passport!). I presented my credentials 
and he began a conversation with our adjutant, speaking a dialect so 
strange that the two men repeated each phrase a dozen times. The 
adjutant explained that I was a foreign friend of China, an American. 
A number of other soldiers gathered, and an involved discussion of world 
affairs began. Eventually I learned that they were deciding whether or 
not anyone from a country that sold trucks and ammunition to the enemy 
had the right to enter Liupiehtung. 

My defenders argued that I had nothing to do with selling trucks and 
ammunition to the Japanese, but that the "merchants" of my country 
"were ignorant and loved money". Finally they let us pass. As we 
moved into the town I heard one of the soldiers shouting to another down 
the street^ and it was only a matter of seconds before my arrival was 
known to the entire town. We had no more than stepped into a dark 

' ' ' '" " ' 

little inn when a young officer appeared, bowed, asked for our passes, 
and then assured me that I was most welcome. He looked so smart and 
efficient, aftd his words were so unequivocal, that I saw my guerrilla 
guards draw themselves up proudly, trying to hide their shabbiness. 
Some of the buttons on their summer uniforms had long since disap- 
peared, a number of them had malaria or ulcers of the feet and legs, and 
one had insisted on marching with us although he was on the verge of 
pneumonia. They had not received a cent of their dollar and a half 
monthly allowance, and in the previous month had been paid only fifty 
cents. In a town en route I had bought a pair of shoes for each, and 
though our adjutant had protested, the men did not. And each night I 
had doctored them for malaria or other ailments. 

When I compared their condition with that of the short, tough 
Kwangsi soldiers about me, I had much food for thought. The Kwangsi 
troops were disciplined and well cared for, and though some undoubtedly 
had malaria, I detected no trachoma or scabies. It meant an army good 
in quality as well as quantity. Indeed, I soon learned that the Kwangsi 
armies had broken with Chinese tradition and bathed daily, summer or 
winter, and that some of them had habits much like those of the American 
Indian. As I watched them march through the streets of Liupiehtung 
that night, I was filled with a tremendous respect for them. Many were 
short little Annamese, of the same race as the people of Indo-China, 
some were racially mixed, and some showed clearly an ancient Chinese 
strain, albeit conditioned by the Kwangsi mountain region. They were 
fierce and strong, and as they inarched, their rifles, ammunition belts, 
and machine-guns clanked. They marched in perfect unison, and sang 
an anti-Japanese song so militantly that I felt certain it must be a prelude 
to immediate battle. Turning to the Kwangsi officer, I asked in a re- 
spectful voice if the men were marching out to fight. No, he replied, 
they were going to the movies ! The Army was quite up to date, he con- 
tinued, for the "Educational Moving-Picture Working Unit" of the 
Central Government s*nt out a new motion-picture news-reel every two 
or three months ! 

I liked the idea of taking artillery to the movies. For years I had seen 
many American movies and Chinese imitations that had left me com* 
pletely frustrated, without any way of revenging myself. I now realized 
that had I taken a heavy machine-gun or a trench mortar with me, I 
might have looked on with sweet patience, biding my time/ 

Despite all this, I did not go to the movies that night. We had walked 
seventy K (twenty-three miles) that day. Not only had we walked, but 
we had pushed and almost carried a decrepit horse and a little mule not 
much larger than a jack-rabbit. When they fell down, as they often did 
on the narrow mountain paths, we would lift them up and rearrange all 
our baggage on their backs. The horse \tras an utterly useless creature, 
but our guards dared not leave it behind because it belonged t;o the Army. 

I was certain that, on their way back, it would plunge into one of the 
bottomless caverns that yawned on every side. 

After eating, I took a candle and went wearily to the board which was 
my bed. Somewhere a night watchman beat on hollow bamboo, telling 
the time. I could not sleep, and through my mind floated many shadowy 
memories. ... I thought of the short, steel-like Kwangsi mountain men 
outside. . . . Then I thought of a room in Hankow. The room had 
polished floors and polished tables and a Chinese vase filled with white 
flowers. Books lay about. And the room was filled with the music of 
Beethoveji's Ninth Symphony. . . . There were many friends there . . . 
but that was their world, not mine. . . . And yet it was very beautiful. . . . 

The next afternoon we stood in the Tientang mountain pass. Below us 
to the west and north lay a long, broad valley of incomparable beauty. 
The distant Shih, or Lihwang, River flowed through it, glimmering in 
the afternoon sun. This valley was our goal. 

About us lay the Ta Pieh mountain range, its black, volcanic peaks 
gashing the light-blue sky. Winding over them was the narrow, spidery 
trail along which we had toiled. Once we crossed a broad motor road 
hewn out of the mountain side. It had been dynamited, and we had had 
to grope our way along a narrpw ledge, clinging to the face of the cliff, 
while a deep gorge on our right seemed to plunge down into the bowels 
of the earth. Yet the Japanese Army had come up that same trail a year 
before, they: airplanes blasting a way for them ! 

By the time the sun sank in the west* we had descended into the broad 
Lihwang Valley, centre of the provisional war-time capital of Anhwei 
Province. On the outskirts of the village of Kupeichung, near which the 
2ist Group Army had its headquarters, we saw many new bamboo 
buildings with thatched roofs. Columns of blue-clad men and women 
singing national songs marched across a hard-packed drill-ground, then 
squatted in groups around wooden buckets of rice and tin pans of steam- 
ing vegetables. Over the archway to the grounds was the sign : "Anhwei 
Student Army." 

Two girls in soldier's uniforms came hurrying along the street, turned 
to look back, and then stopped to ask who I was. When I told them, 
they insisted that I come into the Anhwei Student Army Headquarters. < 
In an austere little office the girls introduced me to their director, 
Lieutenant-General Ma Ghi-ying. 

Lieutenant-General Ma Ghi-ying was a graduate of America's West 
Point, class of 1924. Upon completing his studies he had returned to 
China and, although a Kwangtung Province man, had gone to Kwangsi 
and founded a training school for Army officers. He was now Educational 
Director of the Anhwei Student Army, a body of 500 men and 100 girl 
high-school students, and of the Military Education Corps, in which 
i ,000 men were under training to become commanders of hsien militia 


and local guerrilla forces. He was also special adviser to Governor Liao 
Rei, and had the reputation of being one of the advanced leaders of 
youth in the province. I learned later that he was a son of one of the 
richest Hong Kong families and had at one time punctuated his military 
career with wild extravagances. Once he told me of a banquet he had 
given to the Crown Prince of Spain. It had lasted ten hours and there 
had been seven hundred courses. 

Nevertheless, since the Japanese invasion he had been at the front. He 
spoke good English, but only the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. His 
fiancee, a girl student who spoke Mandarin and some English, was his 

The minute I reached Lihwang Valley, I entered a world of political 
intrigue in which the old order struggled against the new. Lieutenant- 
General Ma told me at once that my old friend Chang Nai-chih, once a 
Shanghai banker, had waited for me for two months, but had had to 

Bluntly I said to General Ma : "So Chang Nai-chih has been driven 
out already!" 

Just as bluntly he answered : "Yes, he was too honest and progressive. 
The 'C. C. Clique' will not welcome you either. But the Governor and 
the rest of us will !" 

In Shanghai Chang Nai-chih had been one of the leading pre-war 
patriotic democrats. He had helped found the National Salvation 
Association, which had demanded that China resist the Japanese instead 
of fighting the Red Army. Because of this he had been one of seven 
patriotic professional men imprisoned by the Government for "endanger- 
ing the Republic". Upon release after the outbreak of war he had gone 
to Kwangsi Province, the only place which welcomed democratic men. 
When Kwangsi generals were put in charge of Anhwei in 1938, they 
appointed him Finance Commissioner. 

But shortly before I reached Lihwang, the reactionary group known as 
the "C. C. Clique" had gained control of the Kuomintang in Anhwei 
Province, and Chang Nai-chih had been one of their first victims. He 
had been driven out, and a new Financial Commissioner, with a retinue 
of persona] followers, had been sent from Chungking to take his place. I 
soon learned that Lieutenant-General Ma Chi-ying was also under fire 
from the "C. C. Clique". 

As soon as I arrived, and before I could catch my breath, Lieutenant- 
General Ma instructed a student to summon the Student Army, and 
within five minutes I was standing on a platform in a large assembly hall, 
facing hundreds of applauding students and listening to General Ma 
announcing : "Miss Smedley will now lecture on the second World War 
and how it affects our war of resistance." 

We had walked over thirty miles that day and I was dog-tired and _ 
shaky. But these students also climbed mountains each day, and when- - 

ever they sat down to rest, they drew out their notebooks and waited for 
lectures from teachers. To avoid air-raids all classes were held in the 
hills. This w&s a nation at war. 

So I spoke on the second World War as the beginning of the war 
against Fascism; and as I talked I longed for light and more light. I also 
wished that they had given me a few minutes to prepare ! 

The Anhwei Student Army, like its model, the famous Kwangsi 
Student Army, was made up of students who were taught the use of 
weapons and the elements of strategy and tactics, but whose main task 
was mass education and mobilization. 

One hour after my lecture I stretched out on a board bed heaped with 
yellow straw, embarrassed because I was too weary to eat. A series of 
impressions like those in a movie reel flashed through my mind: our 
adjutant worrying because the room in the inn cost too much fifty cents 
a night without food. . . . General Ma giving me a tin of Shanghai 
cigarettes worth ten dollars by the time they reached Lihwang ... he 
thought that the Governor's motor-car, the only one in the province, 
would take me to the capital tomorrow, using gasoline that cost thirty 
dollars for a five-gallon tin. ... , 


1 LEANED BACK in the Governor's car feeling like a criminal. On 
the highway, half-way to Lihwang, we passed my bodyguard trudging 
along on foot, and they looked solemnly at me as we sped past. 

In Government headquarters we met the Governor, General Liao Rei, 
coming down the hall. Except for his unadorned uniform, he looked like, 
some old Roman senator. In a dignified, courteous manner, but totally 
without pomp, he welcomed me and inquired about my well-being and 
needs, my journey, and my first impression of this base of resistance in the 
enemy rear. I said: "Your soldiers literally exude strength, health, and 
energy. They seem a race apart." 

"We are a mountain people," he explained, and went on to say that 
baths, in winter or summer, seemed to prevent many diseases. Still, he 
said, he couldn't understand why they didn't suffer from malaria as 
much as the others. The Kwangsi troops were well fed, but even well* 
fed people got malaria. 

The Governor told me there was a large field hospital and two receiv- 
ing stations in the neighbourhood. The hospital belonged to the Army 
Medical Service of the Ministry of War, but after the superintendent and 
business manager had been discovered "squeezing" money appropriated 
for food and coffins, the Governor had appointed a Kwangsi doctor as 
superintendent. I didn't ask him what he did with the offenders; 
Kw&ogsi men were quick on the trigger. The trouble with all such 

-V'v,^'. , ' 241 

hospitals, he continued, was that they had to be very far from the fighting 
fronts, or the Japanese would try to destroy them. The receiving stations 
were much nearer the front. None of them received the medical supplies 
they needed, and the Governor wanted me to support their requests for 
more medicine. 

He watched me curiously, carefully considering each word I spoke. 
We drifted into talk about the two Kwangsi Army Groups, and hi 
particular of the aist, of which he was Commander-in-Chief. The major 
problem in the Shanghai-Nanking fighting, he said, had been the air and 
artillery superiority of the enemy; the fighting had resembled that in the 
first World War. Since that time the armies had learned night fighting 
and the use of camouflage. The mountains afforded natural protection. 
Defence works were now well camouflaged and the troops had learned 
guerrilla and mobile warfare. The Japanese still had the advantage of 
motorized equipment, but the Chinese tried to keep the roads destroyed. 
Since the fall of Hankow a year previously, his army alone had fought 
over two hundred guerrilla engagements. ^Enemy "mopping-up" cam- 
paigns had been largely futile. * 

The 2ist vi .Group Army operated in western Anhwei and in eastern 
Hupeh Province, and regiments sometimes swept eastwards down the 
Yangtze on special missions. Since the adoption of guerrilla warfare, 
enemy losses had become twice as heavy as Chinese. m 

When I asked him what had been their chief gains since the outbreak 
of war, he answered: "Battlefield education, which is very different 
from book theory. Our other chief gain is national consciousness. Our 
troops know that this is a life-and-death struggle for the entire country, 1 
not just for Kwangsi. They think it's an honour to fight, and if they 
don't haye a chance to fight, they feel they've not done anything." 

He spoke in an undemonstrative voice, as if he were weary or depressed. 
He was no more than fifty, but seemed much older. 

The people, the Army, and the many new training schools of the 
Government were now scattered up and down the valley in huge new 
bamboo oarracks. These structures were simple but excellently de- 
signed, some of them even beautiful. The outside walls were plastered 
with mud to blend with the earth, and the roofs were thatched, and some- 
times camouflaged with branches or overgrown with vines. Many had 
been built under overhanging trees. In addition, caves had been dug 
deep in the mountain sides, and there was a telephone and radio warn- 
ing system throughout the province. Air-raid sentries were stationed on 
mountains to give bugle calls or beat brass gongs in warning. 

During my five weeks in Lihwang we had many alarms, but only one 
raid. This raid took place while I was in the field hospital. Those few 
who were able to walk went into the surrounding hills, but most remained 
where they were. They seemed beyond fear. With one of the doctors I 
went towards a shelter, but before we reached it the roar of the^planes 

filled the air. Suddenly strength left me; I could not even walk, 2nd the 
doctor had to lift me into the shelter* The planes bombed a town just 
over the' hill from us. 

Liao Rei had been appointed Governor when Hankow had fallen 
eleven months before. At that time the Japanese occupied forty-one of 
the sixty-two hsien in the province and had shattered its economic and 
cultural life. This meant the destruction of almost a whole country, for 
Anhwei, with a population of 30,000,000, was a huge, rich province 
which lay in the midcjle of China as the heart lies in the body. In the 
ensuing eleven months the Japanese had been driven out of all but 
twenty hsien, and even in these they occupied only one or two walled 
cities. The Finance Department of the Government had built up an 
"Enemy Goods Inspection Bureau" in an attempt to blockade the 
goods of the enemy and prevent raw materials from reaching them. At 
the same time the Government promoted home industries, including' 
spinning and weaving, paper-making, and match-manufacture. But 
these efforts were far too weak; enemy goods, disguised as Chinese or 
foreign, could be found everywhere. 

On New Year's Day, 1939, General Liao proclaimed his War-Time 
Political-Military Programme, which had forty-two provisions for the 
emancipation, reorganization, administration, and education of the 
province. In carrying out this programme he had the aid of experienced 
officials and military men from Kwangsi Province, and thousands of 
educated men and women, including hundreds sent by General Li 
Chung-ren, Commander-in-Chief of the Fifth War Zone. 

The Anhwei Political-Military Training Camp, or School, with its 
seven branches, had turned out 4,000 men and women administrators by 
the time I arrived in Lihwang. It was planned to re-staff every one of the 
4,000 towns and villages, with their sub-divisions (40,000 in all), with 
newly trained personnel. The different branches of the training camp, 
scattered up and down the valley, trained personnel for finance and 
accounting, agricultural co-operatives, primary schools, radio, and in- 
telligence work. There was, in addition, a Citizens' Military Training 
Camp, the Anhwei Student Army Camp, which I had visited, the Pao 
An Tui (Peace Preservation Corps), and a Military Training Camp, in 
which i ,000 men were being trained as lower-ranking officers. 

The task the province had undertaken was gigantic. Each reform 
might have to be defended by arms. Many officials were new and in- 
experienced and often without much basic education. The longer I re- 
mained in Lihwang, the more problems did I see growing out of the 
contest between the new and the old, between democracy and dictator- 
ship, and sometimes between plain viciousness and ordinary human 
decency. These problems were not merely Chinese. They were inter- 
national; for though Anhwei was a province in China's interior, it might 
have been a section of America or central Europe. 


The" provincial branch of the ruling party, the Kuomintang, often 
seemed to represent all that was dark and treacherous. It was numeric- 
ally weak because it had long represented only the owning "classes. 
Lacking popular support, it held power by dictatorial methods and' 
intrigue. Its reactionary "C. C. Clique" was led by Chen Kuo-fu and by 
Chen Li-fu, Minister of Education in the Central Government. Mr. 
Chen had sent a small group of his followers to Anhwei to try to wrest 
power not only from the Communists in certain regions, but also from 
the Kwangsi Army. Chen had appointed a sleek, lynx-eyed gentleman, 
Fang Chi, to act as Commissioner of Education of Anhwei Province, and 
Fang Chi's first act had been to censor and ban progressive publications 
in all schools, including even the leading newspaper, the Ta Pieh Shan 
Er Pao 9 published by the People's Mobilization Committee of Lihwang 
tinder the guidance of the Governor. 

The Governor was a thorn in the flesh of the "C. C. Clique", fpr he was 
liberal and progressive, a champion of youth and a firm worker for 
national unity. The "C. C. Clique" therefore joined forces with other 
reactionary elements, including a small group of staff officers and politi- 
cians connected with the Kwangsi Army apd known as the "Hunan 
bureaucrats", a still smaller group of prominent Kwangsi politicians 
with personal ambitions, and three or four former Communist Party 
members. It was a weird mixture, typical of a civilization in transition 
and a nation in the throes of a war for survival. 

The "Hunan bureaucrats" seemed to be particularly despised, yet 
they were among the most dangerous because they could exercise 
influence on the Governor through a concubine whom men politely 
called his "wife". Like many men of the older generation, General Liao 
had one foot in the past, one in the future. I was told that he had a wife 
and three concubines. One of the latter was with him in Lihwang. "She 
was a native of Hunan Province, an illiterate but handsome, aggressive, 
and utterly unscrupulous woman. Men whispered that she used "bed- 
pillow influence" on behalf of her retainers. Her brother had become 
chief of General Liao's bodyguards, and one of her clique had become 
chief of staff of the aist Group Army; the latter sat writing old wen-li 
poetry, which the "C. C. Clique" published in the local Kuomintang 
newspaper, side by side with endless attacks upon all educated youth as 
Communist or potentially Communist. 

The Kuomintang and the "Hunan bureaucrats" had little in common 
save adherence to the old world and fear that the "new elements" would 
wrest power from them. They fought every democratic force and had, I 
was told, reinstated a number of local politicians who kad been driven 
put by the Governor because of their connection with Wang Ching-weL 
The Governor stood between these groups, trying to reconcile <xm- 
flicts, yet always managing to protect the democratic forces, f^tfiqw- 
elements". It was, of course, still dangerous to be a "new element". 

When, soon defter my arrival, I heard that this term had been applied to 
me, I knew that I would be in for it sooner or later. 

The Kuomintang remained apart, housed in a small village where its 
leaders had started a party training class. I heard it referred to as a spy 
centre against the "new elements". Though the party representatives 
consisted of a handful of men, none of whom had been elected, they had 
the right to sit in the Provincial Government and influence or even 
determine decisions. While returning from a lecture in a training camp 
one evening, a group of us had to step aside to allow a cavalcade to pass'. 
We heard the clank of guns, and then a group of armed men, spread out 
fanwise, swept past, followed by carriers supporting a sedan chair in 
which sat the leader of the local Kuomintang. Another group of armed 
men brought up the rear. 

One of our party exclaimed in disgust: "And such men would lead 
us !" I remarked that the man was perhaps sick, else why should he ride 
in a sedan chair? 

"Not at all," someone answered furiously; "and what were the armed 
guards except a provocation?" 

"Perhaps he's afraid someone will take a shot at him," another added; 
and I was convinced by his tone that he wished someone would. 

I spent one day in the Finance and Accounting Department of the 
Government, talking with its leaders and lecturing in its training schooL 
Two months had elapsed since Chang Nai-chih had been driven out of the 
province. The new commission and its retinue was still on the way, but 
the financial administration of the province was already breaking down 
and the Government was in arrears. The Governor had asked the Cen- 
tral Government for money, but it only kept telling him to balance his 
budget. So an air of depression hung over the Financial Department. 
Officials who ha'd done good work knew they would soon be unemployed. 
They were men of all ages, in deadly earnest about the war and filled 
with revolutionary hopes and aims. There was deep pathos in their 
eager patriotism, in face of a future so uncertain. 

The organization that suffered most from the attacks of the old ele- 
ments was the People's Mobilization Committee, which the Governor 
had authorized and of which he was supreme director. The leader of this 
.organization was Chang Pei-chuan, former professor in a university in 
Peiping and now chief editor of the Ta Pieh Shan Er Pao. Just before my 
arrival the organization had deeply offended the conservatives by hold- 
ing a week's conference to discuss the meaning of democracy and the 
need for it The organization had fourteen mobile "work corps" con- 
tinually touring Ihe province to mobilize and train civilians ; it maintained 
three mobile dramatic corps; its members were sent to strengthen 
admmfatrative organizations; and those older men and women who had 
beea tchersbefbre the war were instructors in the various training camps. 
It pttt Ut three magazines, the Youth Monthly, Flood, and the Cultural 

Monthly, published text-books, maps, and anti-Japanese posters, and had 
started an archive of war annals. Its Women's Committee had instituted 
night literacy classes for adults, and one group of them had founded and 
managed a spinning and weaving factory for refugees in a near-by town. 

One afternoon and evening the Youth and Women's Committees 
gathered in a woman's conference with delegates from many parts of 
the province. I was the chief speaker, and because I was foreign I 
was expected to give an extensive report on* the international women's 
movement. It was the most difficult lecture I had undertaken, for I had 
only fragmentary information on the subject. I did my best, but I knew 
that I was learning much more about the women of the interior of China 
than they were learning about foreign women. The room was packed 
with women, including many who were soon to have babies. Most of 
them were educated, but a number were peasants and workers. They 
had decorated the hall with banners carrying s\ich slogans as Unite all 
anti-Fascist forces of China with the women of the world! and even one that 
hailed me as the Mother of Chinese Wounded Soldiers! 

A group of war orphans, dressed in tiny military uniforms, had gathered 
wild flowers from the hills and presented them to me along with eloquent 
little messages to American children about the determination of Chinese 
children to struggle until China was free. The women refugees in the 
spinning and weaving factory had sent me two pairs of white cotton 
stockings, and the women of the Youth Committee had written a poem 
of welcome in which they declared that they had been trampled under 
men's feet for thousands of years, but foresaw a new dawn. 

From these women I learned once again of the fearful handicaps under 
which Chinese women laboured. Many said they would never marry 
until China was victorious, for family life imposed such burdens that 
married women could seldom take part in public affairs. This was a 
rare thing to hear, for marriage is considered the duty of every Chinese 
girl, and if they reject it the pressure put upon them by their families 
makes life a misery. Women beyond the age of twenty-five were con- 
sidered "old", and after that age few thought they would ever have an 
opportunity to marry. 

They told me that the masses of women were illiterate, untrained, 
without disciplined habits of thought, and still bound by feudal customs. 
In some villages in Anhwei there were still "baby-ponds" in which un- 
wanted girl infants were drowned at birth, Girls were still affianced at 
a very early age, sent to their mothers-in-law to grow to maturity, and 
then married. The cruelty of mothers-in-law to "child brides" was* a 
problem so universal that the Women's Committee often had to rescue 
little girls and keep them in their headquarters. 

The secretary of the Women's Committee, Miss Chu Ching-hsia, an 
educated married woman in her middle twenties, once said to me : 

"The Ta Pieh mountain range was once a soviet region in which 
246 ' 

women unbound their feet, cut their hair short, studied, and took part in 
public life. But now they have let their hair grow; women with short 
hair had been called Communists and killed by the Kuomintang armies. 
When we first went to them as organizers, we proposed that women cut 
their hair and take part in anti-Japanese organizations. They were 
afraid lest the Terror begin again. 

"J[t is very strange. Most of these Chinese soviet women cannot read 
or write, yet they know all about capitalism and world affairs, and they 
speak very well before meetings. When we convinced them that they 
would not be killed if they took part in public life, they and the men 
of the villages were able to manage the local anti-Japanese associations 
without any help from us. 

"We educated women find women's work very difficult. Our lives; 
habits, and standards of culture are so different from those of the country 
women that it is difficult to find contacts with them. So we have now 
brought a group of country women here for training. 

"We have another strange problem. The Soviets forbade forced mar- 
riages ; men and women were allowed to marry from choice and neither 
side could pay a dowry. The Kuomintang called this 'free love*. But 
now, when the Soviets no longer exist, some men lay claim to the women 
to whom they were affianced in childhood according to the old custom. 
Sometimes these women are stolen or taken by force from their homes. 
They may be widows whose husbands were killed in the civil wars or 
are now fighting in the Eighth Route or New Fourth Armies. But the 
childhood engagement is considered legally binding, and our Women's 
Committee is always having trouble forcing the men to return the stolen 
women to their homes.*' 

General Lai Kang, Garrison Commander of Lihwang, one day told 
me what he had seen of conditions during a military expedition he had 
just made to Pochow, in the far north of Anhwei. In that region, he said, 
serfdom still reigned. All the men still wore the queu\ the women had 
bound feet, and wore the costumes and dressed their hair in the style of 
the Manchu Dynasty. There were landlords there who owned 50,000 
mao (over 16,600 acres) of land. The peasants were serfs or armed re- 
tainers, working for a bare subsistence, and their women were the land- 
lord's household serfs. 

"The people own not one single thing," said General Lai. "They do 
not know what China is and they do not care. Some of the landlords 
were Japanese agents ; one Magistrate merely transferred his allegiance 
from China to Japan. I executed one Magistrate and many landlords. 
It was difficult? to shoot the big landlords, for they had rifles and even 
machine-guns, and they could arm their serfs with them. In order to 
arrest one .great landlord he was the traitor Magistrate I had a false 
air-raid alarm sounded, and when we all went into the caves, I arrested 
him, took him away, and shot him." 


One evening in Lihwang, shortly after my arrival, the Theatrical 
Group presented two plays in the new "civic centre", a unit which had a 
co-operative restaurant and hotel, a cooperative market, and an assembly 
hall accommodating five thousand people. The plays were written 
locally, and the theme of one was an episode in the city of Anking, for- 
merly the provincial capital, but now occupied by the enemy. On the 
night of May 4, anniversary of the youth movement of China, the puppet 
troops inside Anking had opened the city gates and let in a regiment of 
Kwangsi, troops. Fighting lasted all night, and the Kwangsi troops, along 
with the puppets, withdrew at dawn to escape airplane bombing, but 
left behind a smashed Japanese garrison. One actor in the drama repre- 
sented a Japanese staff officer who had been born and educated in China 
find was supposedly sympathetic to China. 

When the performances were finished, I was asked to speak. Instead, 
I rose and suggested that the audience discuss the plays. My suggestion 
was opposed by an official who declared that the audience was too un- 
developed to discuss them. The actors, still in their make-up, supported 
my idea and asked me to lead the discussion. Two of the playwrights 
offered to reply to criticism. 

I spoke of the excellent acting, but objected to the idea of showing a 
Japanese staff officer as a friend of China. If he was a friend of China, 
why did he remain in the Japanese Army? The playwright replied that 
his Japanese character was drawn from life ; that there really had been 
such a man in Anking during the May 4 fighting. 

The dam had broken. A dozen men, some soldiers, some students in 
the various training camps, asked for the floor. They strode up the aisles, 
leaped to the stage, and told what they thought of the plays. And they 
talked intelligently. One soldier declared that one play was too filled 
with lofty talk which the common people could not understand. Still 
another pointed out that one of the plays showed a gang of Japanese and 
puppets having a feast and gabbing about the threat of guerrillas, but 
that the guerrillas never attacked, and only the wife of the puppet leader 
had killed herself out of fear. No play, he declared violently, should ever 
show that treason pays. The guerrillas should have killed every low-down 
dog at the banquet table ! 

Ah, replied the playwright, was that reality? If the enemy was always 
lying dead on the stage, What was the use of continuing the war? Arouse 
the people by showing the facts ! 


1 HE GOVERNOR'S DIFFICULTIES were usually grave, but at least 
oiice the difficulty that confronted him was a ridiculous one. His con* 
cubine had hated Lieutenant-General Ma for a long time because he was 

' ''" 

an undiplomatic man who openly campaigned against the concubine'* 
Hunan "countrymen", as well as against the "C. G. Clique". 

General Ma loved fine horses and, being wealthy, had bought a 
number of them, including one fine white steed. This he lent to a guerrilla 
commander going to the front. The commander sent the animal back to 
Lihwang by a mafoo (muleteer). The concubine saw it, and when the 
mo/00 said he did not know to whom it belonged, she appropriated it and 
gave it to one of her retainers in the Army. One day General Ma saw 
his lost horse and asked the Governor, who was with him, to stop the car 
so that he might question the rider. The rider replied truthfully that he 
had received the animal from the Governor's wife through her brother, 
chief of the Governor's bodyguard. 

The Governor grew pale with fury and returned to his headquarters to 
confront his brother-in-law. The young man admitted the circumstances, 
whereupon the Governor threatened to court-martial him if the offence 
was repeated. General Ma got his horse back and, if I know his character, 
I suppose he rubbed in his triumph by continually riding the horse right 
under the concubine's nose. But the concubine and her brother bided 
their time. 

This small thread wound itself in with the countless other conflicts 
that raged in the Kwangsi Army and among administrative officials. 
For instance, the old die-hard Commissioner of Civil Affairs, Chen 
Liang-Chu, had once branded Lieutenant-General Ma a "Red" because 
he had entertained Yeh Ting of the New Fourth Army, and because the 
Governor had thereafter begun paying the central Anhwei detachments 
of the New Fourth a subsidy of $20,000 a month. Chen Liang-chu, the 
Hunan bureaucrats, and the "C. C. Clique" had tried in vain to induce 
the Governor to withdraw this subsidy, but the Governor had argued 
that the New Fourth guerrillas were his countrymen fighting the Japanese, 
and he did not care what their political opinions were. At that time 
General Ma had been editor of the Ta Pieh Shan Er Pao> and the campaign 
against him had finally forced the Governor to advise him to resign. 
General Ma's defeat had never ceased to rankle. But opponents watched 
his every step, their knives ready. The young officer nevertheless con- 
tinued to ride the white horse contemptuously, and even dubbed the 
Commissioner "old Chen Pao-chia" because Chen was a fanatical sjip- 
porter of the pao-chia system and used it, General Ma said, merely to 
prevent the election of local officials. 

A few hours' talk with "old Chen Pao-chia" made me 
was no mean opponent. He was a stocky middle-aged 
black moustache and beard, a big mouth, and two 
gold teeth; which he thought a mark of beauty. He 
giftfcd intriguers in Lihwang and had raised the t^pnC of vilifying 
enemk* to a fine art. With his "wild" directness, 
match for this suave smiling gentleman. As Cc 

Affairs "old .Chen Pao-chia" had appointed three leading Trotskyites as 
special commissioners in the very territory in which the Communist New 
Fourth Army operated. Chen called this "fighting fire with fire", for 
his special commissioners organized a clever network of espionage and 
rumour-mongering against the Communist ^guerrillas, and kept their 
chief in Lihwang informed of all they learned. 

After a lengthy eulogy of the pao-chia system, old Chen told me how 
very difficult it was to introduce any reforms in the land system, and 
delicately suggested, by a species of reasoning too devious for me to 
follow, that I, as a foreigner, was perhaps personally responsible for the 
policy of imperialist aggression against China. As I was taking my leave, 
he remarked that General Ma was both charming and broad-minded! He 
smiled, displaying his gold teeth. I decided that General Ma had better 
watch his step. And since I was living in his house at the request of the 
Governor, I knew, too, that anything that applied to General Ma might 
well apply to me. 

In addition to all these intrigues, the Governor one day had to deal 
with a delegation of refugees who presented him with a long document 
accusing Fang Chi, the new Commissioner of Education and member of 
the "C. C. Clique", of "ten crimes", including corruption, nepotism, 
and reaction. Mr. Fang had formerly been in charge of refugee funds, 
and the delegation asked the Governor to bring him to public trial. 
Since the "C. C. Clique" was an arm of the ruling party, the Governor 
dared not do anything. But Lihwang seethed with rumours as the refugee 
delegation went from department to department ; and one day they even 
presented me with a copy of their charges. It was an amazing document, 
one of the charges referring to Mr. Fang's loose life with a woman back in 
his 'Tokyo student days. China is four thousand years old and has a 
long memory. 

Caught between a dozen fires, Governor Liao Rei one day had an 
apoplectic stroke. His concubine, who knew nothing about scientific 
medicine, first called in a number of old herb doctors, who proceeded to 
dose the prostrate man with new concoctions each day, hoping that at 
least one might work. The 2ist Groftp Army had just acquired a, new 
Medical Director, a well-trained graduate of the Rockefeller Foundation's 
Peking Union Medical College, but the concubine would not allow him 
to see the Governor. Instead, when the herb doctors failed to produce 
any results, she remembered that General Ma possessed a "magic needle" 
given him by Buddhist priests of the sacred Omei Mountain in far 
^Szechuen Province. The priests had taught the young officer the art of 
'acupuncture, which enables the operator to reach the exact nerve centre 
with eacfrtjirijst x>f his needle. 

Now, thod&h (j^neral Ma had been educated at America's West 
tfqp*|# fyt b#ic$ed & this remarkable needle, which, although it some- 
tixne&,acted as * rafter-irritant, was in general pure superstition. My 

host carried his precious needle around in a little velvet case, and I had 
repeatedly seen him use it, once on an old landlord, afflitted with syphilis, 
who had been brought into our cottage in a sedan chair. 

When the Governor's concubine demanded that General Ma use the 
needle on the Governor, General Ma refused unless the concubine would 
sign a written statement declaring that, should the treatment fail, she 
would not hold him responsible for the Governor's death. The concubine 
refused, and charged that he wished the Governor to die. She added that 
he had urged the Anhwei Student Army in Lihwang to revolt and had 
encouraged some of them to desert and join the New Fourth Army. This 
was both true and untrue : the young officer had had something to do 
with the student unrest, but had sent some of them to a guerrilla army 
in the west, not to the New Fourth. And the Governor had been furious. 
The concubine didn't care a thing about the students, but she relished 
any charge against General Ma because he had humiliated her and her 
brother with the white horse. 

Our cottage was filled with delegations of officers and officials urging 
General Ma to use his needle on the Governor. He stubbornly refused 
until the concubine should give him written absolution. The garrison 
commander, General Lai Kang, came and told him that the woman was 
whipping up a tide of resentment against hin^ but he replied that she 
was merely an illiterate concubine which didn't help matters. 

While all this was going on, the Governor lay in a dangerous coma. 
At last Kwangsi Army commanders ripped the matter out of the con- 
cubine's hands and called in their new Medical Director. He began a 
treatment which brought the Governor back to consciousness. But the 
Governor was sick at heart and kept murmuring : "Why is there no hope 
for Anhwei? Why is it that no one understands me?" 

Feeling that he would die, he laboriously and pathetically dictated a 
last will and testament : 

I am a military man. I have been an Army Commander for a long 
time. After the war of resistance began I thought of nothing but how 
to give my life to the country and to destroy the enemy. Last year I 
was appointed chairman of this province. There was great disorder 
and the Japanese attacked us fiercely. I was very anxious and worked 
too hard. That caused my illness. But the enemy is still strong. Unless 
the Yangtze and the Hwei are cleaned out and defended, Lungsoh 
[Szechuen] cannot be protected and we will lose the Central Plains 
[ancient Han term for central China], Unless the Ta Pieh region is 
strengthened, -there will be no base to begin a counter-offensive. Our 
party, political, and military comrades must do their utmost to unite 
under the guidance of the Tsung Tsai [Generalissimo Chiang] to re- 
construct Anhwei, revive China, and achieve eventual victory. In 
this way my unfinished ^task will be accomplished. I hojje that my 


loyalty and difficulties can be explained in detail to General Li and 
General Pai. . 

The concubine grew impatient at the General's slow recovery, and 
one day abruptly discussed the Army physician and called back her 
three old herb doctors. Two days later she telephoned in a frenzy for the 
Medical Director. But it was too late. The Governor had contracted 
pneumonia. He died on the night of October 21. 

One hour later, while my secretary and I were sitting at a table with 
General Ma and his fiancee, the door was flung"bpen and the concubine's 
brother, with a number of armed guards, pistols in hand, rushed in and 
fell upon the General. I rose in horror, but the concubine's brother 
seized me and hurled me back in my chair. 

General Ma was allowed to go to his room to change. From there we 
heard shouting and struggling. He tried, as we learned later, to telephone 
the garrison commander, but the telephone was knocked from his hands. 
He found his pistol, but it was snatched from him. Finally they carried 
him out in his bathrobe, literally hog-tied, and the whole group disap- 
peared into the night. 

We rushed to the telephone to call the garrison commander, but found 
the wires had been torn from the batteries. I connected them, and my 
secretary finally reached the commander. Later he came to our cottage 
and told us that he had sent out an alarm, and all the guards and General 
Ma had been taken to headquarters as prisoners of the Kwangsi Army. 
Ma was detained for a week, and then escorted Out of the province 
under heavy guard, en route to Chungking. His fiancee went with 

From that time on, Lihwang was in a state of perpetual alarm. "Old 
Chen Pao-chia" turned up as acting Governor, and rumour had it that 
he might be appointed Governor. The members of the People's Mobiliza- 
tion Committee prepared for flight; some had already disappeared. But 
when the Governor's funeral was held on the 25th most of them turned 
up in force, along with all the troops and every official in the Govern- 
ment. The "C. C. Clique" marched with solemn faces, and the Hunan 
bureaucrats, although worried by the weakened position of the concu- 
bine, were also in line. 

As I watched the funeral procession I noticed that every shop in the 
villages through which it would pass had set out a red-decked table on 
which burned candles and bundles of incense sticks. And everyone had 
a string of firecrackers to set off to keep devils from the casket* First 
came columns of Kwangsi soldiers marching four abreast, their soft-shod 
feet making no noise, their rifles pointing toward* the ground in moanj- 
ing. Behind me the sewing-machines in a tailor's shop buzzed noisily 
as if nothing was happening. Once I saw a whole column of soidiefs 
laughing someone had told a ioke whteh had passed down the linel 

The pall-bearers, heads of departments, were hitched to the casket by 
long white paper ribbons, But the casket was carried by coolies. 

The Governor had no children, so one lone man in white sackcloth 
walked directly behind the casket, and to my amazement I saw that it 
was the brother of the concubine. The concubine followed in a covered 
sedan chair. Right behind her walked the Medical Director; he had 
been ordered to stay near her in case she should faint. Twice 1 saw her 
brother turn to stare at me, and his face was so contorted by hatred that 
I realized he held me responsible for General Ma's escape. 

Although I really should not have been, I was amazed by this funeral. 
It incorporated all that was old and feudal in China. There was the 
great palanquin, loaded with food, to accompany the soul of the dead 
man on its journey to the other world. And some of the marchers wore 
such gorgeous costumes that they looked like actors from the old stage. 
Over everything hung the fragrance of incense, and firecrackers splut- 
tered along the entire line of march. When it was all over I heard several 
youths declare bitterly that the Government had appropriated twenty 
thousand dollars for the funeral, but that it had not cost more than a few 
hundred. The rest had "disappeared". 

Immediately after the funeral Professor Chang Pei-chuan, leader of 
the People's Mobilization Committee, came to warn me that the Kuomin- 
tang had stationed secret agents' along all paths leading to my cottage. 
Three girls from the Women's Committee came through the cordon to 
give me a similar warning and to say that they were leaving Lihwang. 
Many youths did not even return to their barracks after the funeral. 
Everyone urged me to leave. When a messenger slipped through with an 
invitation to rejoin the New Fourth Army, I decided to ask for a military 

Two days later a short, fat official appeared, sat down uneasily on the 
edge of a chair, and turned towards me a face so modest and humble that 
I suspected him of almost anything. He had been sent by the Govern- 
ment, he said, to inform me that there were floods on the route between 
Lihwang and the New Fourth Army and I could not possibly wade 
through. I did not mind wading through floods, I said. But, he. pro- 
tested, there was also an order from the Central Government prohibiting' 
foreigners from visiting central Anhwei. When I asked to see the order, 
he shook his head sadly and said that it was secret ! Then why reveal a 
secret order? I asked. He squirmed, murmuring that the Government 
was responsible for my safety; and when I assured him that I did not 
hold the Government responsible, he said he was very sad of heart. Why 
not go to other attnies? he added brightly. Yes, I would do that, I said, 
but first I would send one telegram to the Red Cross Medical Corps in- 
forming them of my exact route of travel, and another to General Li 
Ghung-ren, Commander-in-Chief of the Fifth War Zone, informing him 
that I was crossing central China to reach his headquarters. 

<',. T : . " ,, ','.; - . 253 

The young man rose uneasily, purring something about my health, my 
bitter life, and my services to China. I almost laughed in his fkce. 

On the heels of this man came another Government official, a friend 
of mine who had attended the conference before which my request for a 
military pass had come. He stalked in and asked: "What did that jot 
tsai (slave) tell you?" 

I told him. 

"A pack of lies!" he exclaimed. The head of the "C. G. Clique" had 
listened to my request and then merely declared: "She can't go!" 
Everyone else had sat in silence, not daring to utter a word. 

The official asked me what I intended to do. Go across central China 
to the west, I said ; to return to the New Fourth Army would not help 
that Army under present conditions. With a stony face he staged before 
him, then shook my hand and took his departure. 

At dawn on the morning of October 28 a group of Lihwang Preserva- 
tion Corps men were waiting to escort me to the west. As the garrison 
commander, who had been a friend of the Governor and of Lieutenant- 
General Ma, said good-bye, he shook his head sorrowfully and patted the 
big black mule which Governor Liao Rei had given me shortly before he 
died. After he was gone came a leader of the Theatrical Group, who 
raised his hands and exclaimed almost hysterically : "I know all that's 
being said and done, but still I believe we must try to work here as long 
as possible. There is still some hope !" 

Finally Chang Pei-chuan, the young professor who represented the 
People's Mobilization Corps, came to sung me on my journey. He 
escorted me far beyond the outskirts of the town. As he bade me farewell 
he looked along the path leading into the mountains and asked: "Do 
you suppose anything would happen if I simply went with you right 
now?" I told him to look at the sergeant in charge of my armed escort. 
It was obvious that my friend would not get very far if he tried. From 
a hilltop I turned to look back. He still stood where we had left him. 


1 HAVE NO heart to write of any of these events. It would be easier to 
write only of the courageous and magnificent side of China. Yet China 
is not just China, but a kind of little world where one can observe social 
forces that have their counterpart in every corner of the greater world 

One year after I left Lihwang I received a letter ill western China 
from a doctor in the New Fourth Army informing me that the young 
professor, Chang Pei-chuan, and almost the entire People's Mobilization 
Committee of over a thousand educated men and women had made 
their way to the New Fourth Army. They had deserted in groups. The 

new Governor, General Li Ping-hsien, had not been a reactionary man, 
but had been sent to the province with instructions to prevent the spread 
of New Fourth Army influence. Educated youth had not been willing to 
work under the new conditions in Lihwang had not been willing, 
among other things, to fight their own countrymen. They were not 
Communists, but the Communists left their doors wide open to them. 
So the youth of Lihwang continued their work elsewhere. It seemed to 
me that even in their own interests the old order was stupid. 

More : in mid-January, 1941, all China was perturbed by the news that 
four, thousand men and women of the Third Detachment of the New 
Fourth Army had been surrounded on the southern shores of the Yangtze 
by eighty thousand Government troops and annihilated. Women nurses 
and political workers had hanged themselves from the trees. Of the 
wounded soldiers I dared not think, for there is no fury like that of a rul- 
ing class whose power and property are threatened. 

The news told us that General Yeh Ting, Commander of the New 
Fourth Army, had been wounded and taken prisoner and was to be 
court-martialled by General Ku Chu-tung, Commander-in-Chief of the 
Third War Zone. General Ku was the same man who had been respon- 
sible, as I have related, for the death of a newspaper man in Cfcinkiang 
in pre-war days. The reports said that Vice-Commander Hsiang Ying 
of the New Fourth Army had escaped, but was being sought for arrest. 
The Communists said he had been wounded, then killed. 

Now I recalled what General Yeh Ting and I had once said to each 

"Should civil war ever come," he had asked, "what will happen to 
such people as you and I, who are members neither of the Kuomintang 
nor of the Communist Party?" 

"We might be the first to be killed," I had answered. 

When these reports began to come through, the Chinese Government 
tried first to suppress and then to deny them. Within the Government's 
own ranks there was great conflict about such developments. General 
Ho Ying-ching, Minister of War, and General Pai Chung-hsi, vice chief 
of staff to the National Military Council, were held responsible for the 
orders that had led to the clash. I heard that when reports of the fighting 
reached Chungking, an order had gone out that firing should cease im- 
mediately, but that General Ku Chu-tung of the Third War Zone had 
not transmitted it. Once the news was out, however, the Government 
sought to justify the action as "military necessity". 

The first official newspaper reports were wild and stupid. One charged 
that the New Fourth Army troops had revolted and attacked Govern- 
ment troops. Another charged that General Yeh Ting and the entire 
New Fourth Army had "plotted" to occupy first the great triangle lying 
between Nanking, Shanghai, and Hangchow, and then the towns of 
Chuyung and Tanyang, in order to use all of them as a base of operations 


against Chinese regular armies. In writing such reports, perhaps news- 
paper men knew that no one would trouble to analyze them or consult a 
map. Foreigners certainly would not. Had they done so, they would 
have seen that the Shanghai-Nanking-Hangchow triangle was occupied 
by the Japanese and was their main base of operations against central 
China. The towns of Chuyung and Tanyang were just south of Nanking, 
and both were also fortified Japanese positions. If the New Fourth 
Army indeed "plotted" to occupy these places, then it was plotting to 
annihilate Japanese forces which had already defeated all the regular 
Chinese armies. I wondered why official newspapers had not charged 
that the New Fourth Army and General Yeh Ting had also "plotted** to 
occupy Nanking and Tokyo ! 

The position taken by the Communist armies was serious. The story 
that I gathered from many quarters was this: When the British had 
closed the Burma Road for three months in the middle of 1940, cutting 
China off from all military supplies, the Japanese had immediately 
offered China liberal peace terms. These terms remained a secret, but a 
Kwangsi Army commander told me that he had heard that the Japanese 
had offered to kick out cKief puppet Wang Ching-wei and recognize 
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek as head of a semi-independent govern- 
ment. The Japanese offered to evacuate all their troops from central 
and south China except for strategic coastal garrisons. But they de- 
manded the right to hold all China north of the Yellow River. It was 
their demand for this territory that had first plunged China into war, and 
the Japanese had never given up their ambitions. North China was not 
merely a great source of food, and of coal, iron, avid other raw materials, 
but the Japanese also wanted it as a base of operations against both 
China and the Soviet Union. It was also conceived of as a "sanitary" 
zone to prevent the spread of Communism from the Soviet Union into 
China. Yet it was this very territory which the Communist Eighth 
Route Army had occupied and in which it operated against the Japanese. 

The closing of the Burma Road, the Japanese peace proposals, and 
eventually the order to the New Fourth -Army to move north of the 
Yellow River, were regarded all the more suspiciously because the Eighth 
Route Army had been blockaded for many months by the powerful army 
of General Hu Chung-nan, a Chinese Blue Shirt. General Hu Chung- 
nan's army was said to consist of 500,000 of the best-equipped and best- 
fed troops in China. Though they were by no means pro-Japanese, the 
majority of them had not fired a shot at the Japanese since the Battle of 
Taierchwang in the spring of 1938. Instead, they had built three lipes of 
fortifications in the rear of the Eighth Route Army. For over a year and 
a half the Eighth Route had been refused ammunition) money, or 
medical supplies from the Chinese Government. The Communists there- 
fore saw that they faced a mortal enemy, the Japanese, cm every front, 
while a powerful national enemy blockaded them from the rear. 

,Thc conflict with the New Fourth Army had developed because the 
Government ordered it to evacuate the lower Yangtze River Valley and 
move into the region to the north of the Yellow River, In this region 
there had been floods for months, so that the Eighth Route Army there 
had often been unable to feed its own troops. In early 1941 an Australian 
missionary nurse, Miss Kathleen Hall, had managed to penetrate the 
region and reach General Chu Teh's headquarters in Shansi Province. 
Miss Hall told me that she had seen vast areas which had been laid waste 
by the Japanese and other regions in which almost everyone had died 
from typhus or starvation. Even Miss Hall, with money to buy food, soon 
found her body swelling from beri-beri. She had been forced to leave to 
save herself. 

The New Fourth Army had finally agreed to move into this region, 
but had asked the Government to issue it winter uniforms, money to feed 
its troops, and ammunition to protect them en route. Its requests were 
rejected. The Communists therefore believed that the orders sprang 
from the Japanese peace proposals, which elements in the Chinese 
Government were always urging Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to 

Despite all these developments the First and Second Detachments of 
the New Fourth Army had obeyed the Government orders and percolated 
across the Yangtze from the territory east and west of Nanking. The 
Third Detachment, with its base hospitals filled with wounded, had 
remained in the same valley which it had always occupied. It was there 
that the detachment was finally attacked and decimated. After this 
tragedy reports came out that Wang Ghing-wei's puppet armies had 
occupied a part of the territory evacuated by the New Fourth. 

These events brought China to the verge of internal war. The Com- 
munists issued an ultimatum to the Central Government demanding the 
cessation of armed attacks on its troops, an apology for the destruction 
of the Third Detachment, compensation for the families of the dead, and 
the release of General Yeh Ting. They also asked that immediate steps 
be taken to introduce a democratic system which would give all parties a 
voice in the Government. Pending a settlement, the Communists began 
to appoint their own commanders, and all the New Fourth detachments, 
though declared disbanded by the Government, continued to fight as 
before. Instead of moving to the north of the Yellow River, they re- 
mained, and still remain, in central and eastern Anhwei and in the 
bordering north Kiangsu Province areas which are at present errone- 
ously shaded to indicate Japanese occupation. The Communists an- 
nounced that they would continue to fight the Japanese and puppets, 
but would also'defend themselves if attacked by Government troops. 

The basic 'cause of all these conflicts must be sought in political and 

.social forces, not in military conditions. The spectre of civil war had 

never been laid, even after the Japanese invasion. The ruling class, 

I (China) 25? 

primarily the landlords, viewed with terror the growth of the Eighth 
Route and New Fourth Armies because these mobilized, educated, and 
armed the common people. Landlords who had fled to the far west or to 
the port cities before the Japanese, saw their peasants in arms, standing 
their ground and fighting. Could such men be expected to lay down 
their guns after the war had ended and return to the old conditions? 
Certainly not ! 

Let it be clear that the Chinese Communists always declared that social- 
ism could not be introduced until China had passed through the demo- 
cratic stage. However, they never confused a private capitalism, with its 
tendency to concentrate economic power in the hands of a few, with 
democracy. They taught their troops and the people that all Chinese 
must unite and march forward together; and when they said forward 
they meant forward. That they made mistakes and were often as 
intransigent as Jesuits and capitalists cannot be denied. But as they 
preached, so did they practise. No men were more prepared to die for 
their convictions than they. Guns in their hands, they stood at the front 
with the people, and it was difficult to sec just where their forces ended 
and the people began. Much later, in Chungking, I heard a high-placed 
official exclaim : "What amazes rne is the number of Communist Party 
members who have been killed at the front." 

Later on I was often to hear foreigners spreading rumours about "the 
arms smuggled to the Chinese Communists by the Soviet Union". I 
urged them merely to consult the map to see how completely the Eighth 
Route and New Fourth Armies were cut off from the outside world by 
vast distances, deserts, and blockading nationalist troops. 

From early 1939 until it was attacked in 1941, the Soviet Government 
supplied China with more arms, ammunition, and financial aid than did 
any other Power or combination of Powers. But such supplies were 
delivered directly to the Chinese Government, who saw to it that none 
reached the Communist armies. Had the Soviet Government ever 
attempted to furnish any individual Chinese army with supplies, it would 
have split China wide open. I doubt if even the most conservative 
Chinese official would dare charge that the Soviet Union supplied the 
Communists with anything. Incidentally, had the Soviets done so, the 
Communist armies would hardly have been in so sorry a state. Soviet 
military advisers replaced the Germans in China, but these advisers were 
pure military strategists, and not one was permitted to advise the Eighth 
Route or New Fourth Armies. There were no Soviet political workers of 
any kind in China, and the military advisers could talk only with the 
highest commanders of the national armies. 

Until the conflict developed between the Communists and the Govern- 
ment, the Government furnished the former with money and ammuni- 
tion ; like all the armies of the country, however, the Communist forces 
had to furnish their own medical supplies out of these funds. After the 

conflict developed, even medical supplies bought in Hong Kong or con- 
tributed from abroad were not permitted to pass through to the Eighth 
Route sick and wounded. I did not fail to point out that this was a gross 
violation of international law. 

Sometimes Government spokesmen charged that the Eighth Route 
and New Fourth Armies did not fight, but merely sought to "stir up the 
people". The Japanese who fought those armies knew better. I saw 
dozens of hospitals filled with wounded Communist soldiers, but perhaps 
the Government thought there were too few. There would have been 
fewer still if these soldiers had possessed adequate arms and ammunition 
and if they had been fed well enough to resist sickness and disease. Once 
one of the highest Government officials was quoted as saying that if the 
Government gave the Communists more money, the latter would not 
improve the conditions of their troops, but merely recruit still more. 
This was quite true; the Communists believed that unless all Chinese 
were armed, they would become slaves of the Japanese. Men with guns 
in their hands, they felt, learn how to talk back to aggressors. 

A fierce light was thrown on these internal conflicts when General 
Chu Teh, Commander-in-Chief of the Communist Annies, issued a 
report to the nation on July 7, 1942. He prefaced it by stating that the 
Eighth Route had received no money or ammunition from the Govern- 
ment for three years ! Despite this, he wrote, the Eighth Route and New 
Fourth Armies had in 1941-2 engaged more than twenty-four Japanese 
divisions, or 44 per cent of the total Japanese armed forces in China. In 
that same period the Eighth Route Army had suffered casualties of 
23,034 dead and 40,813 wounded, the New Fourth 6,755 dead and 
10,856 wounded. How fierce the fighting had been was indicated in the 
revelation that these armies had lost seventy-five of their highest officers. 

General Chu estimated that in that year the Eighth Route had killed 
and wounded more than 24,000 Japanese and puppets. The two armies 
together had captured a total of 38,985, together with quantities of guns, 
ammunition, and other supplies. The New Fourth alone had taken 15,721 
new rifles, 301 light and heavy machine-guns, and much other material, 
including clothing, food, and medicine. The Communists had literally 
lived off the Japanese. 

When I read General Chu Teh's report to the nation, it seemed to 
me that behind his dull statistics glowed a thousand Marathons. The 
phrases of Leonidas at Thermopylae seemed to pale before his concluding 

"Victory will not come of itself, but can only be won by further 
sacrifices. We" vow before our countrymen and the anti-Fascist peoples 
of the world that we will persist in our efforts to maintain and strengthen 
national unity under the leadership of Generalissimo Chiang. . . . We 
shall keep this vow until we have driven the Japanese across the Yalu 
River, We will co-operate with the Kuomintang and all other parties to 


build a democratic Republic, and with all freedom-loving peoples to 
build a new world. . . ." 

In early January, 1943, a small news item reported that the town and 
valley of Lihwang, Anhwei, where I had spent five weeks, had been over- 
run and for a short period occupied by the Japanese. How vividly I 
could recall that valley with its flowing river, its many new buildings, and 
those tens of thousands of men and women whose voices were the voices 
of new China ! Again Anhwei seemed like a drop of water that reflected 
the whole world. I believed, and still believe, that the Japanese could 
never have occupied that mountain fastness had it not been weakened 
from within by political reaction. Men cannot triumph by guns alone. 


JLHEREISA whole region of central China which I remember by a song 
of desolation in the night. It happened this way: 

Leaving Lihwang, we moved westward through the towering Ta Pieh 
mountain range, ascending one summit only to find ourselves looking out 
on a sea of others. Drifting clouds caressed the black volcanic peaks, 
swept about us, and left us soaked. 

Through sunny hours eagles floated lazily above us, and long wedges 
of wild geese flew southward, heralding the winter. The pine forests 
soughed as if in fear. The lah, or wax, tree blazed in red glory on the 
lower slopes. Its small, round white beans had burst their brown pods 
and gleamed among the red autumn foliage like spangles. And at 
intervals there were clumps of trees turning to bright cerise. 

From earth's grandeur we would descend into squalid valley villages 
where poverty bred sickness and suffering. Here was cause and effect in 
graphic simplicity : the villages arose directly in the shadows of the land- 
lords' mansion indeed, they were its shadows. High walls with watch- 
towers, pierced by loop-holes, protected the mansion. The landlords had 
fled, leaving agents behind to collect the rents. 

Near one village I saw two peasant men, barefoot and in rags, hitched 
to a plough held upright by a barefoot, ragged woman. Behind them 
walked another woman carrying a small basket and dropping bits of 
dried manure into the furrow. 

For many years before the anti-Japanese war began, the border region 
of Anhwei, Hupeh, and Honan Provinces had been Soviet territory 
guarded by the Fourth Red Army Corps, Only after years of warfare 
had the Kuomintang armies been able to reduce it. How many people 
were lulled no one will ever know, but the region was now sparsely 
populated, many villages were crumbling to dust, and old Red Army 
slogans on trees and wayside shrines were obliterated by whitewash* 

The villages were so poor we could buy nothing to eat* One night we 
came into a large one and decided to sleep in an empty peasant hut. The 
floor was the usual packed earth, but the walls were crumbling and we 
could see the sky through the broken roof above. We bought two eggs, 
some rice and garlic, and after eating our meagre meal we lay down on 
our piles of straw. 

Only I was "rich" enough to afford a candle. When night fell, the 
people went to bed or sat in the darkness in front of their huts and talked 
in low voices. As I lay there thinking my painful thoughts, I suddenly 
heard voices singing in the night. First a man sang, then a woman 
answered, and the song went on and on. The music was as old as China ; 
I did not know the words, but I felt that into these old ballads the people 
had woven their hopes and sorrows'. There was something in it that 
moved me until I was sitting upright in my bed, listening intently, 
straining. It went on and on, a passion of desolation stretching back into 
time immemorial. . . . How many men had lived and died in this 
ancient land, and how abandoned ! How desperate the sorrows of the 
people ! 

The ballad ended, the night closed in, and from the village came not a 

This song still returns to me whenever Honan Province is mentioned 
that wide wheat-plain where famine, flood, drought, banditry, and 
poverty are the constant companions of the people. 

To my remark about this destitution, a young official once answered 
sadly: "Compared to north Honan, that is nothing. There the people 
have nothing at all." 

In the western Ta Pieh mountain range we saw a slogan written in 
white paint along the walls of a landlord's mansion : " The Army must love 
the people and the people must help the Army. Hwangchuan Youth Associa- 
tion." But we never met the writers. It was as if they had written the 
words, then fled. I recalled that while in Lihwang I had met three girl 
students who had come from the Hwangchuan Youth Association to 
study at the Anhwei base of resistance. 

In the late evening of October 30 our armed escort delivered us in 
safety to the headquarters of the Magistrate of Shangchen, a ruined city 
on the fringe of a battlefield that runs the length of northern Hupeh and 
southern Honan Provinces. From Shangchen we could hear the roar of 
guns from an enemy garrison thirty miles to the south and from Macheng 
in Hupeh, the strongest Japanese position in the region. The Kwangsi 
Army had attacked this base, and the Shangchen guerrilla detachment 
had been ordeued there to help. 

The Magistrate had gone to the front to command the guerrilla detach- 
ment. When I asked if I too might go, officials stared in consternation. 
It was too dangerous, they replied; Shangchen had been occupied by 
the Japanese for nine months, and they had been driven out only in May 


of this year. Once a city of 250,0009 Shangchen now had a population 
of less than 5,000, and these lived in a perpetual state of preparedness for 
evacuation. Periodically the Japanese swept northwards into south 
Honan in an attempt to exterminate the main Chinese armies. 

In the absence of Magistrate Koo Ting, once a commander against the 
Red Army, I became the guest of the Chamber of Commerce and was 
given a room in its headquarters. There I met the town's leading 
merchants and officials. There were no mass organizations, for, my hosts 
explained, this was an old Red Army region, and people's organizations 
were dangerous unless carefully organized and led. On the walls sur- 
rounding the Chamber of Commerce stretched two slogans : Anyone who 
agitates the people or spreads rumours will be destroyed, and The chief virtues are 
obedience and filial piety. 

Mr. Ming Yao, local representative of the Kuomintang, was a young 
man with a face as cold and cruel as any I had ever seen. When I asked 
him about people's organizations, he listed the Chamber of Commerce ; 
the pao-chia headquarters ; the rice, wheat, and cotton merchants' guilds ; 
the Barbers' Union with one hundred and twenty members, and the 
Carpenters' and Masons' Union with four hundred. He also said some- 
thing about a primary school "outside the city" and some peasant 

When I asked to speak with representatives of the carpenters', masons', 
and barbers' groups, he replied that he was their representative and I 
could speak to him. When I asked in what villages the peasant associa- 
tions were located, he grew vague, and finally said that they were not 
fully organized that he was thinking of organizing them, but that it 
would be difficult because this was an old Soviet region. The Kuomin- 
tang, he said, was planning to establish in Hwangchuan a training- 
school for mass organizers. The Reds had held Shangchen and Hwang- 
chuan for four years. To dislodge them the Government troops had had 
to burn down all the forests around them. Apparently forgetting this 
statement, he later declared , bitterly that the Reds had themselves 
burned down all the forests. When I asked why they should want to do 
that, he answered : "The trees belonged to the landlords." 

My host, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, was an older 
man who had once been captured by the Red Army and had been fined 
two thousand dollars as a reactionary. He had escaped to Hankow and 
returned after the Kuomintang Armies conquered the region. I did not 
ask him what he did then, for he belonged to the old world, and in talking 
to such men I always felt as though I were wading through a swamp. He 
spoke pathetically of the lot of landlords, but said nothing about the 

With my host I went through Shangchen. A strategic city lying at the 
base of the Ta Pieh mountain range, fierce battles had raged around it. 
Before the Japanese could capture it their planes had levelled almost 

every building, and when driven out in May, they had tried to' burn down 
everything else. 

The Shangchen authorities gave me an armed escort of fifteen men to 
take me to Hwangchuan, a large city to the north-west which had once 
been in the hands of the Japanese for three months. I had to postpone 
my trip for a few hours because a guerrilla detachment near Hwangchuan 
had just mutinied. They had not been paid for three months and, lacking 
political training, some had deserted to the Japanese, while others were 
now looting villages and waylaying travellers. 

The motor highway along which we were to travel was the main "life- 
line" of China north of the Yangtze. To prevent Japanese mechanized 
equipment from using it (China itself had no trucks or gasoline in this 
region), deep trenches extending far into the bordering wheat-fields had 
been dug across it. Along this route came an endless procession of 
carriers, wheelbarrows, donkeys, and mules, transporting war material 
to the armies of Honan and Anhwei, even to Shantung Province and to 
troops along the far eastern sea. It was a lucrative highway for either 
Japanese or bandits. 

The only evidence of "people's mobilization" that I saw in Shangchen 
before I left was the way I got my two carriers. Because I had asked for 
men to help carry our bedding-rolls, my typewriter, camera, films, and 
medical supplies, the authorities had sent armed men to the outskirts of 
the town, where they dragged two men from their beds at midnight, 
bound them, and brought them to me ! The first I knew of this was when 
in the middle of the night I heard a scuffling of feet in the adjoining room. 
When I entered the room I found two ragged, barefoot peasants cowering 
in a corner. They were squat, broad-shouldered, and bareheaded, and 
their black eyes watched me in fear. Yet if I refused these men the 
authorities would merely round up others in the same way. When my 
secretary told the two peasants that we would pay them and give them 
good food, they merely drew back and watched him suspiciously. 

When we halted in a town for rest a few hours later, one of the carriers 
escaped in the crowd ; our sergeant went down the street to look for 
another. Meanwhile I noticed the other carrier watching me as I 
rummaged in a basket in which I had packed some additional food, 
cigarettes, and equipment for our journey. Everything that could be 
eaten or smoked had disappeared ! In a cautious voice the carrier told 
me that during the morning the guards had eaten the food, taken the 
cigarettes, and searched everywhere for money. 

It was then that I recalled that the sergeant of the guards had been 
asking if special troops were really coming to meet us, and that one little 
guard, a lad with an unusuaUy intelligent face, had told my secretary 
that the guards were former bandits. To my secretary I remarked: 
"Since weVe been looted in a small way in headquarters, on the road we 
may expect to be robbed in a big way." 


Sure enough, when we were about an hour's distance out of town all 
the guards surrounded the sergeant and demanded that he pay them 
fifteen dollars each their unpaid wages for three months. He offered 
each two dollars and a half and began writing their names in a notebook. 
They rejected the money. He went up to three dollars, then four, and 
finally five, after which he refused to bargain further. Sullenly they 
accepted the five dollars, but insisted that the little guard with the 
intelligent face read aloud everything written in the book. 

We knew the issue was not yet settled. We continued on our way, 
wondering just when they would demand more money. We also tried 
to learn where the young guard had learned to read. He was wary, but 
when we started to talk about Shangchen and the old Red Army, he 
burst out : "Yes, the rich hated the Red Army, but the poor loved it. It 
was very good. It had clubs, singing groups, and things like that. I 
joined it when I was a child. That's where I learned to read and 

One night we entered a medieval walled town perched on a hill. It 
had been bombed, looted by bandits, and left half-deserted ; an air of 
decay and destitution hung over everything. We unrolled our bedding 
on a layer of wheat straw in a building whose entire front had been 
blasted away. Our two carriers had nothing but the rags on their bodies, 
and slept curled up against each other, their hands tucked into their 
sleeves. The nights had grown very cold, and I gave them two of my thin 
woollen blankets, keeping one for myself. They assured me that they had 
no lice, but I was certain that they had. My secretary warned that they 
might run off with my blankets, but I declared that I would do the same 
if I were they. 

Before turning in we wandered about trying to buy something to eat, 
and under a spreading oak found a small, lamp-lit stall where we could 
buy bread, dry garlic, and hot water. As we stood there, a group of 
uniformed men came down the street. They were all talking so eagerly 
and the faces of all of them were so alight with enthusiasm and interest 
that I stared at them. Suddenly one of them cried out my Chinese name, 
and at once I realized that they were Eighth Route Army men. It 
turned out that they were on their way to the New Fourth in Anhwei to 
become commanders or political workers. They had walked across all 
north China accompanied by a young Englishman, George Hogg, a 
worker in the Chinese Industrial Co-operatives. 

Since they had been sleeping in peasant homes and had not met 
officials, they saw everywhere only the reflections of that which they 
carried in their own hearts victory. How wonderful everything was, 
they exclaimed. The war was going magnificently; the people were 
awakened, political prejudices stilled, victories everywhere! When we 
told them of our experiences their mouths fell open in bewilderment. 
When they were gone and we had returned to our sleeping-quarters, I 

wrote of the great desolation that filled me. Up to this time I had been 
with men who had all tried, despite differences in political outlook, to 
think in terms of human progress. There had been dark moments and dis- 
cords, but we all had had only one main desire to free China and bring 
it forward. Now I seemed to have broken out of that charmed circle and 
into an ocean of darkness, poverty, and oppression. Along the highway I 
had found none of those slogans by which the Chinese express their hopes, 
no songs of conviction, no activity of the people. Sick and diseased people 
surrounded me everywhere, pleading for help : babies that had congenital 
syphilis skin diseases scabby heads pus-filled eyes ulcerous legs! 
Someone told me that there was a missionary hospital in Hwangchuan, 
but when I urged the people to go there for medical treatment, they 
replied in dull despair that the hospital charged money and they had 

"What destitution, dirt, and disease ! " I wrote. "I have used up half of 
my medicine, but there is no end. Only a gigantic transformation could 
end this misery !" 

From a plateau on which a group of strong peasant men were drilling 
we looked down on Hwangchuan, a city that dated back to the ancient 
Chou Dynasty. The old inner city stood on a high hill, surrounded by a 
time-worn serrated wall washed by a river. 1^ thought of Prague with its 
medieval Czech castle standing on a hill, the blue Moldau laving its feet. 
Behind us, far across the wheat-plains, the faint blue contours of the Ta 
Pieh Mountains were shadows against the sky. 

Suddenly people began running from the village across the wheat- 
fields. An air-raid ! We fled into a cemetery and crouched between the 
grave7mounds, watching the skies. Out of the north came nine black 
specks. They grew larger and larger, roared over us, and on towards 
the south. 

It was four in the afternoon when we crossed a bridge over a jade- 
green river and passed through the old walls. Directly over the gateway 
was the slogan : Suppress Communists; they are connected with Russia! Along 
the wall ran another: Our heads may be cut off, but our hearts cannot be 

The inner city was under martial law. Climbing up and up the stone 
steps, we passed through three cordons of troops, each of which was 
searching all civilians. The Special Commission's headquarters on the 
summit was surrounded by another iron ring. 

The Special Commissioned, Mai Ta-fu, was a young military man, a 
member of th^ Kuomintang who had formerly been aide-de-camp to 
General Cheng Chien, Commander-in-Chief of the First War Zone. 
He welcomed me to Hwangchuan aild ordered food for us. While we 
were waiting, he led us through his headquarters to a garden in the back, 
and we suddenly found ourselves in another world. Two bushes laden 
12 . 265 

with blood-red roses perfumed a large, lovely garden. There was a 
weather-worn stone table with stone benches, and beyond that the low 
stone tomb of a prince of a dynasty that had ruled long before the time 
of Christ. 

Commander Mai fitted into this picture. He was polished, exceedingly 
handsome, and elegantly dressed. With gracious dignity he began to 
discuss living-quarters for me. Because of the air-raids he suggested that 
I live in one of the three Christian missionary institutions in the town ; 
they had their national flags painted on their roofs and so far had not 
been bombed. The Catholic mission, however, was suspect; an Italian 
priest had been driven out by the authorities because he had helped the 
Japanese during the occupation. 

I did not wish to live in a mission. The missions were small foreign 
oases removed from the activity, thought, and struggle of the country. I 
preferred to take my chances with the Chinese. An adjutant was there- 
fore sent into the city to look over the inns ; he returned to report that 
they were too dirty. Finally I allowed Commander Mai to send a note to 
the American Lutheran Mission. 

As a result I spent a few days in a comfortable American house 
eating American food and sleeping on a bed so soft that it kept me 
awake half the night. The room even had a picture of a cat playing a 

The missionary ladies were a Miss Patterson and a Miss Quello, both 
of Norwegian descent, the former a nurse and the latter an evangelist 
who had just returned from a two-week revival tour of the region to the 
north. I had entered a Lutheran Bible Belt that stretched across Honan. 

Miss Patterson had seen so much of the dark side of China that she had 
grown cynical. She spoke of the deep-dyed materialism of the Chinese, 
of the corruption and banditry. Miss Quello was less biased, possessed 
a faculty for vivid description, and was more sympathetic towards 
China. On her last trip she had spent a night in a village from which 
the entire population had fled in fear of bandits. A military officer 
had warned her and the Chinese "Bible-woman" with her to leave 
at once, but instead the two women had prayed, after which they had 
slept safely through the night. The next day the villagers had returned 
and she had conducted her usual Bible class and held a revival meeting. 
All her converts were old women, she said, and each time she returned 
they had forgotten all she had previously taught them. What interested 
me was the fact that most Christian converts were old people afraid 
of death. The young ones I had seen were largely "rice Christians". So 
far I had found no Christian soldiers. 

In the visits I made to the military clinics in Hwangchuan I found 
many sick and wounded men, but no medical supplies. They never sent 
their wounded to the missionary hospital, they said, because they could 
not afford to pay the registration fee and the fifty cents a day for a bed 

in the public ward. The Lutheran hospital was receiving free medical 
supplies from the International Red Cross Committee in Hankow, but 
refused to admit wounded soldiers free of charge. Miss Patterson argued 
that foreign medicine was for refugees only, that there were no refugees 
in the region, and that the armies had money enough to pay for their 
wounded if they wished, and that officers always had money. She main- 
tained a small out-patient clinic to treat the very poor, but patients had 
to prove their destitution. 

One day my secretary, who was living in the hospital, reported that a 
wounded soldier had been lying in front of the hospital for four hours, 
but was refused admission because he could not pay the eighty cents' 
registration fee and the fifty cents a day for a bed. I found this wounded 
man slowly bleeding to death on his stretcher. I paid the registration fee 
and the charges for one month's care, then I went in search of the hard- 
boiled Chinese Christian doctor and insisted that he care for the man at 
once. Because the money had been paid, the soldier was admitted. 

When I informed Miss Patterson that I would have to report this case 
to the International Red Cross Committee and write about it, she 
rummaged among her papers and finally insisted upon returning my 
money. But no other soldier was admitted while I was there. The 
hospital suffered no loss for such a patient, since the International Red 
Cross Committee always paid his hospital fees. It Even though they 
were kind to me personally, I again regretted that I had to live in a 
mission home. 

One afternoon, during an interview with Commander Mai Ta-fu, an 
air-raid alarm interrupted us and, along with the entire populace, we 
poured through or over the old walls and out of the city. The country- 
side beyond was a maze of narrow zigzag trenches and of holes just large 
enough for one person. I dived into one of these "fox holes" and looked 
around. All around me were hundreds of heads sticking out of the earth, 
scanning the skies, each camouflaged with a little bunch of wheat straw 
or a branch. 

Living on a hill-top, protected by troops, and with as much comfort as 
such a poor war zone could provide, perhaps Commander Mai did not 
see or did not care about the bitter lot of the people. As he talked to me I 
recalled that song of desolation in the night, and knew that he could 
never sympathize with, or even know the lot of the common people. To 
be a Chinese was not enough. 

That evening I dined with the Commander, the Magistrate, and 
Major-General Wang Chan-ping, Vice-Commander of the Jth Kwangsi 
Army, which Held the front to the south. We stood before a huge military 
map and studied the Japanese and Chinese positions, and they told of the 
changes they had observed since the war began. 

I liked Major-General Wang Chan-ping because he looked like a knot 
on a tree. He was a Kwangsi man, short and tough, with an ugly face, a 


shaven head and bow-legs. His eyes sparkled and his simple honesty was 
very appealing. He" was the direct antithesis of the debonair, handsome 
Special Commissioner. He seemed to have no interest whatever in 
"keeping things as they are", and he judged victory not only by military 
standards, but also by the changing attitude of the people towards the 
enemy and towards their own armed forces. In the first part of the war, 
he said, the civilians always fled from their homes to far places, or ran in 
terror from one place to another ; but now when the Japanese advanced 
they merely moved to some place near by and waited for them to be 
beaten back. If a few Japanese entered a village, the people did not flee, 
but killed them. 


ALL THE missionaries in central China, I met none so remarkable as 
Dr. Skinsness, an American Lutheran of Norwegian descent. The slate- 
coloured roofs of his hospital rising on a hill beyond Kioshan, a town 
south of Chumatien, could be seen for miles across the plains. Three 
different times Japanese bombers had come up from the south and had 
made special detours to bomb it. Thirteen American flags hung inside 
and outside its buildings, yet two of the structures had been destroyed 
and the others badly damaged. 

Kioshan lay on the old Peiping-Hankow railway line or rather on 
what had once been the railway. The nearest Japanese garrison was at 
Changtaikwan, twenty-five miles to the south, and south of that lay 
Sinyang, the main Japanese defence position above Hankow. North of 
Changtaikwan the Chinese had turned the railway bed into wheat-fields 
and had given the rails and girders to a group of railway workers, who 
had set up a small foundry in Chumatien and were turning the steel into 
swords for the Chinese armies and guerrillas. 

The Japanese were so close to Kioshan that their airplanes were able 
to be over the town within five minutes after the town bell clanged an 
alarm. There were four or five alarms each day and others on moonlit 
nights. For miles around the hospital there was no place to run for 
shelter, not even a tree or a bush. The planes therefore flew low enough 
to be able to spot and machine-gun anyone who fled from the hospital. 
So Dr. Skinsness, his wife, the two American women nurses, the newly 
trained Chinese women nurse attendants, and the patients just stood and 
took the bombings as they came. 

I had become ill, and the Magistrate of Kioshan sent* a note to Dr. 
Skinsness asking if he could admit me to the hospital. I had already 
heard many tales of this doctor. One was that he was a Christian so 
grim that when he uttered the word "heathen" it sounded like a curse. 
Along with the Magistrate's letter I enclosed a note informing him that I 

was not a Christian and could not ask for help without informing him of 
this fact. In his answering note he invited me to come, and added : "You 
may not be a Christian. Well, I am !" 

In his white apron, he followed his note down the hill and said he had 
room in his own home not only for me, but for my secretary. I went with 
something like trepidation. My secretary was even more reluctant, for he 
had begun to hate the missionaries for their too comfortable homes and 

But the home was not luxurious, though in that wilderness of poverty 
it might seem so to poor Chinese. It was a typical lower-middle-class 
American home, clean, orderly, and well cared for. The furnishings 
looked almost new, but had actually been brought from America twenty- 
four years before. With Norwegian thoroughness, every chair was kept 
repaired, oiled, and polished, and every hole in the carpets, couch cover, 
or window curtains darned. Only the big cracks in the walls and ceilings, 
caused by bombings, had not been repaired, because it seemed a waste of 
labour while the bombers kept coming over daily. From one of the 
nurses I soon learned that Dr. Skinsness arid his wife had saved no 
money, and that their son and daughter were both working their way 
through school in Chicago, their son at Rush and their daughter tending 
a switchboard while studying to become a nurse. 

The hospital had been equipped for eighty patients, but it now had 
one hundred and thirty, and had had as many as two hundred. It re- 
ceived medicine from the International Red Cross Committee in Han- 
kow, but, unlike the hospital in Hwangchuan, gave it to anyone in need 
to soldiers, refugees, civilians, and both the mission orphanage and 
the town's non-Christian orphanage. In addition, Dr. Skinsness bought 
medicine with the fees of patients who were able to pay, and at times 
gave surgical instruments and drugs to armies in need. 

After the last severe bombings Dr. Skinsness's Chinese doctors and 
nurses had left, two of the women nurses going to an independent 
guerrilla detachment of the New Fourth Army which operated along 
the Peiping-Hankow railway. As the only doctor in charge, Dr. Skins r 
ness was on call twenty-four hours a day. He was up at five or five-thirty 
each morning and tried to perform operations before the air-raids began. 
He visited each patient in the morning and again in the evening, and for 
two ^ours in the morning and two in the afternoon he took personal 
charge of an out-patient clinic which served hundreds of civilians and 
soldiers. If patients could pay the ten-cent fee for examination, medicine, 
and treatment, well and good; it was not demanded, and no "means 
test" was used to establish the destitution of patients. 

If there were five minutes during the day that could be spared, Dr. 
Skinsness spent it inspecting a dispensary that was being built, or direct- 
ing the construction of new wooden bedsteads to take the place of those 
destroyed by bombs. In some of the wards men lay on mattresses on the 


floor, with just enough room for the doctor and a nurse to move between 

In his life and work this missionary doctor was a grim, dour Christian. 
Often he spoke harshly, even fiercely, of his past experiences with 
"heathen" doctors, who, he said, had no compassion, no sense of honesty 
or duty. His iron conviction was that Christianity alone imbued men 
with these virtues. He used the word "heathen" precisely as Southern 
Americans use the word "nigger". But in his work with the sick and 
wounded I saw only a man dedicated to the service of mankind. 

A fearful experience had had an unfortunate effect upon his attitude 
towards all Chinese. One day in early September of the year before, a 
high Army officer had brought his sick mother to the hospital for treat- 
ment and had quartered his bodyguards in a small building inside the 
mission compound. The old lady died, and her body, protected by the 
guards, lay in the compound for a number of days. One night, after a 
hard day's labour, and while his wife was away in the mountains, Dr. 
Skinsness was awakened by a noise. He had one servant, a cook, who 
lived in a near-by cottage, but when he called, the cook did not answer. 
Instead four of the soldier guards, who had bound and gagged the cook, 
broke into the house and, waving guns and axes at him, demanded 
money. They drove him into his bedroom and snatched his watch, 
flashlight, and a small sum of money. 

They demanded more money, but he declared that all he had was in 
the hospital safe. Then he remembered that he did have money in the 
house five hundred dollars in silver which he kept hidden in the attic 
in case bandits or Japanese should ever loot the hospital. It was hospital 
money, saved from patients' fees over a period of many months, and he 
had planned to use it to buy more medicine. But as a Christian, he said, 
he could not lie, so he told the robbers of this money and went with them 
to the attic. Incidentally there was a large bomb-hole in the floor 
through which one of the robbers would have fallen if the doctor had not 
reached out and caught him. 

The robbers took the five hundred dollars and then demanded more. 
They accused him of lying, and to make him tell the truth began to bore 
into his thigh with a pair of scissors. Blood spurted out and the doctor 
fell to the floor. At last the robbers decided to take him as he was, bare- 
foot, in night clothes, and covered with blood, to the hospital. One of 
them dragged him to the garden gate, calling on the others to followr 
But the others did not answer ! They had fled into the darkness with the 
money. Determined not to be done out of his share, the robber released 
Dr. Skinsness, but shouted fiercely: "Stay here! If you* move I'll kill 
you !" and disappeared. 

The doctor decided that, since he might die anyway, he might as well 
die in flight. He stumbled down the hill and fell into the arms of a 
terrified night watchman inside the hospital. Although two men had 

to support him, Dr. Skinsness was on" duty in the hospital the very 
next day. 

High Army officers investigated the incident, but disclaimed any 
knowledge of the robbers. Bitterly Dr. Skinsness charged : 

"They didn't even try ! Not one man was punished. It was six months 
before the Government ordered the Army to return the five hundred 
dollars to me. Madame Chiang wrote a letter of regret over the incident 
and appreciation of my work in China. The Generalissimo ordered that 
the hospital be guarded by troops, and since then soldiers have been 
on duty night and day." He paused and then added: "But I bought 
police dogs." 

While Dr. Skinsness was recovering from this experience, three enemy 
planes had another try at this hospital with its American flags flapping in 
the wind. One incendiary bomb splashed yellow chemicals over the 
buildings, but they failed to ignite; only one person in the hospital 
grounds was injured that day. Dr. Skinsness was convinced that God, in 
his mercy, had intervened. 

Some missionaries believed and were preaching that God protected 
Christians but not heathens. Subsequently I heard some of them warn 
Chinese that if they took refuge in a Chinese temple they would be killed, 
but if they fled to a church God would protect them. 

When Dr. Skinsness worked with the sick and wounded he was a 
modern scientist, but when he conducted prayer meetings for his small 
foreign staff, he became a fundamentalist. I was so much interested in 
his personality that I attended one prayer meeting. In it Dr. Skinsness 
preached on "casting out devils". He seemed to believe every period and 
comma in the Bible. What interested me most was the struggle he waged 
with himself. He humbly pleaded with God to wash from his soul all 
memory of his past sufferings. He knew, he said, that God did not pro- 
tect people from harm and evil and, with his colleagues, he prayed for the 
calm faith to endure air-raids and everything else without fear. I jotted > 
down one of his prayers in my diary. It ran : 

Merciful Father, protect the Chinese Red Cross Medical Corps, 
whose workers are ministering to sick and wounded soldiers on every 
front. Give them courage, O God, to continue their work, and lead 
them to Christ. Protect the guest within our gates who ministers to the 
sick and wounded, and give her courage to continue her work, and 
lead her to Christ. Guide the authorities in power to show no favourit- 
ism towards any army fighting for the country. Free China, O merciful 
Father, from* the Japanese; bring it victory and peace, and teach the 
Japanese the error of their ways. 



ONE AFTERNOON IN November, 1939, as we made our way towards 
Nanyang, rain began to fall steadily, and nightfall found us still on the 
road. My armed escort cursed vilely as they slipped and slid through the 
loess clay, and my big black mule skated around as if on ice. A thousand 
times we asked villagers: "How far to Nanyang ?" Some said thirty-five 
/*, some said fifty, some said twenty. And each changed his estimate 
almost immediately. It seemed to be a matter of whim, but none would 
admit he did not know. 

Once I decided to send my guards back to Tangho. Bandits would not 
attack us in the pouring rain, nor were the Japanese near. But I changed 
my mind when we came to a^ village and stepped into a dark, dreary shed 
to order hot tea. 

"How far is Nanyang?" we asked a mail-carrier, who had pushed his 
huge wheelbarrow, piled with mail-sacks, under the shed. 

"Thirty-five K" he answered. The ubiquitous postal workers of 
China inspired respect ; they seemed to know everything. As the carrier 
answered, I caught sight of five 'soldiers sitting cross-legged on a k'ang 
with a small table in front of them. Even in the murky light I could see 
that they were indescribably dirty and that the towels tied about their 
heads were black. One of them was holding a small winepot over a little 
blue flame, and when it became hot, poured wine into tiny wine-cups 
before them. Before drinking they played the finger game, the loser of 
each deal emptying his glass. Their faces expressionless, they seemed like 
figures in a dream. The sight depressed me. Turning to the mail-carrier, 
I asked : 

"Who are those soldiers?" 

He studied them thoughtfully before answering : "They have no caps 
or arm badges, so they cannot be from any army. . . . They have guns 
behind them. . . ." He paused, looked around at my party, and added : 
"But I think you have enough guns to take care of yourselves." 

I gave up all idea of sending my armed escort back to Tangho. 

The cold rain continued drearily. It soaked through my padded 
winter overcoat and my padded uniform underneath. It soaked into our 
puttees and cloth shoes, and our caps became wet rags. My big mule 
continued to sprawl all over the place, and once he spread out in the mud 
like a daisy. I tried to walk, but the mud sucked the shoes off my feet and 
I had difficulty in finding them. 

It was nearly ten at night when we approached NanyaAg. 4&. few miles 
to the south of the city we came upon a magnificent highway bordered by 
fine trees. This was one of the many beautiful motor roads which the 
Chinese Government had begun to construct before the war and one of 
the developments which frightened the Japanese into attempting the 

conquest ot China before it was too late. South of Nanyang a river had 
broadened into a lake, and with sighs of relief we pulled our animals up 
on the flat ferry that navigated it. Nanyang was a great military strong- 
hold, and sentries challenged our every step. It had been bombed count- 
less times and was badly damaged. But it is remarkable what punish- 
ment a locality can take without being destroyed. The populace was 
ordered into the country each morning, and returned around three or 
four each afternoon to conduct business. The whole town worked at 
night. Shops and restaurants were open and a vegetable market was in 
full swing. But many buildings along the street lay in ruins and at several 
points a whole block had been wiped out. 

The Magistrate received me warmly and sent for some strong hot wine 
to brace us up. He began talking about the military preparations around 
the city. Since he slept through most of the c^ay and worked all night, he 
was fresh and chipper and could have talked for hours. We had been on 
the road for more than eighteen hours, for the most part in a drenching 
rain, and we had eaten little since four in the morning. 

But the hot wine soon began to put new life into us, and I even took 
out my diary and began to make notes of the Magistrate's conversation. 
Once I looked up at him, and to my surprise found that he had grown 
fully seven or eight feet tall and, what with his little black moustache, had 
begun to look like Charlie Chaplin. Cautiously I turned to look at his 
smooth-tongued secretary, but to my utter amazement this gentleman, 
sitting in the corner with his darkly clad arms braced on his knees and 
under the faint light from the open peanut-oil lamp, had a startling re- 
semblance to a tom-cat. When he spoke he showed his teeth as if snarling 
and, without moving his head, rolled his eyes so that only the whites 
could be seen. As I looked at him I got the impression that he was speak- 
ing cautiously, as if he were literally filled to the brim with important 

The Magistrate now began to stride about the room and seemed to be 
talking from somewhere near the ceiling. 

"The bombings are not so very serious, and the Japanese raid us 
merely to make disturbances," he declared. "They can only hit civilians 
and market streets, for the Army is outside and the Government has 
moved to Loyang." 

"My word 1" I muttered in my best English accent. 

"All the schools have moved to the country primary, junior, and high 
school eight thousand students in all," he went on. "And refugees- 
five thousand six hundred and twenty-two !" His voice sounded like the 
crack of doom. '"All flood victims ! We place them out in the homes of 
families able to support extra persons without cost. . . ." 

Something or someone finally inspired the Magistrate with the idea 
that it might not hurt if I went to sleep for the rest of the night. But his 
headquarters was an armed camp and crowded impossible ! The inns 


were also impossible, for they were in the centre of the town and one did 
not have time to escape into the country before the bombers came. So 
I'd better stay in one of the missions. 

Accompanied by the Magistrate's adjutant, we went out in the rain 
again, and after half an hour reached a Norwegian mission. But it had 
been bombed a few days before, had no roof, and was deserted. Farther 
on was a Catholic convent. We waded along the street towards it and 
began pounding on its heavy wooden gates. After an interminable 
interval a gateman's voice from far back in the courtyard fearfully asked 
who we were. We told him, but he repeated his question, asking where 
we came from, why, whefe we were going, and why we knocked at 
people's gates in the middle of the night. While the rain poured we 
answered these questions. He then asked us to wait. 

Half an hour passed andstill we waited. Suspecting that the gateman 
had gone back to bed, we were prepared to go in search of an inn when 
we heard the twittering of women's voices on the other side of the heavy 
gate. The adjutant told them who we were and asked, in the name of the 
Magistrate, that they put up an American lady. 

"Oh, we cannot!" a faint voice answered. "We live like the Chinese 
and have no comforts that could possibly satisfy an American." 

I answered that I was not used to comfort. We heard more twittering 
in Italian and then one of the voices said : "We live simply, but you are 

When the heavy gates swung slowly backwards, I saw that the entire 
trunk of a tree had been used as a bar. Inside, in the light of a storm 
lantern, stood a cluster of black-clad nuns with small, fluted black bon- 
nets, looking at us in consternation. It seemed they still feared either 
bandits or Japanese. The eldest of them, a woman who, I later learned, 
was Mother Superior Erminia Malinvernv asked us to enter. 

With much bustling about, the nuns led us into a reception room. After 
me came my secretary, the Magistrate's adjutant, and my three carriers 
six drenched individuals, around each of whom small pools of rain-water 
were already forming. We arranged to have my secretary stay at the 
home of a priest. Leaving trails of water, everyone was at last on his 
way. I turned to my hostesses. Four or five of the ten nuns in the con* 
vent had come out, and one of these, a young woman by the name of 
Erminietta Cattaneo, spoke English. The room was of the long Chinese 
type, with stone floors, holy pictures and images on the walls, and in the 
centre a long polished table bordered with chairs. Would this room be 
suitable, they asked. 

When I told them I was accustomed to far less, to unrolling my bedding 
on tables, chests, boards, or earthen floors, they all began to flutter about, 
getting a bed ready for me. They brought in a camp cot and mattress, 
snow-white sheets, a soft pillow, and warm woollen blankets. One 
brought in a brazier of burning charcoal. When I slid out of my soaked 

garments, they wrapped me in one of the blankets and placed a covered 
tray before me. I lifted the snowy cloth and saw hot milk, toast, salami, 
golden honey, butter, and a pot of coffee ! Oh earth, sweet earth ! 

"Would you like a bottle of wine with the salami?" asked 4 the young 
nun, and she went on to explain that the Sisters made their own wine for 
the holy Mass. The convent was almost self-sufficient. It had cows, pigs, 
chickens, beehives, and grape arbours ; the Sisters did their own cooking, 
washing, ironing, and scrubbing and made their own bread, butter, 
salami, cheese, and wine. 

Some of the nuns were trained nurses, and Sister Erminietta was a 
trained laboratory technician ; in addition she helped cook, wait on the 
table, and do the washing. This was the first missionary institution that 
I visited in which foreigners did physical labour. In fact, it was about the 
only time that I had seen any foreigner in China do any kind of physical 

As I ate they hovered about, gentle and shy, asking countless questions. 
When I went to my cot, they fluffed up the pillow, tucked in the blankets, 
and patted me. 

"What luxury!" I exclaimed, running my hand over the crisp, 
spotless sheets. 

Lying on my back, my eyes strayed beyond them to the walls and 
ceiling. The ceiling had been shattered, and two long, zigzag fissures ran 
down the wall. The paneless windows were boarded up. 

"It's from air-raids," Sister Erminietta explained gravely. "They have 
not hit us yet, but many buildings around here have been destroyed. All 
our buildings are damaged and we are afraid the walls will cave in." 

She said the convent had not been hit yet because they all prayed for 
protection. They also spread out a big Italian flag over their dugout and 
raised one over the buildings. On the corner of each flag they sewed a 
small cloth picture of Our Lady ; this, they said, had saved them. 

The minute each raid was ended, some of the Sisters went into the 
streets with first-aid kits and cared for the injured, while others remained 
in the clinic waiting for the victims to be brought in. They had a small 
ward with twenty beds, always full, and each day over a hundred people 
came to have dressings changed. In the days that followed I watched the 
nurses at work in their clinic. They were rapidly running out of many 
drugs, and of some essentials they had none at all. 

"We are nurses, but must do the work of doctors," said one Sister. 
"We can do only minor operations ; the serious ones are carried to the 
foreign hospitals in Laohokuo; but that is two whole days' journey from 

1 Once a week the nuns went through the prison, doing medical and 
evangelical work. The prisoners were in shackles, and abscesses formed 
around the irons; they had no covering, and lay on straw on the prison 
floor. There were women prisoners with babies which had been born in 


prison. Three times a week sortie of the Sisters went outside the city to 
conduct a clinic for the poor. Speaking of this work, Sister Erminietta 
clasped her hands together and exclaimed : "Oh, never have I seen such 
skin diseases and head sores as in Honan ! Such dreadful things are not 
in Italy ! No, not even in England have I seen such things 1" 

At dawn the next morning I was awakened by chanting from the chapel 
across the courtyard; soon afterwards my door opened, and Sister 
Erminietta, bright-eyed and smiling, brought in a basin of hot water and 
then a delicious foreign breakfast. During the night she had dried my 
outer garments and washed my shirt, socks, and face-towel. 

I had at last reached a territory where I felt that articles for the 
Manchester Guardian and reports to the Red Gross Medical Corps had a 
chance of reaching their destination. There were a military field hospital 
in the city, a clinic of the hsien, a branch of the Buddhist Red Swastika 
Society, and a number of important schools. There were also the district 
militia, a guerrilla detachment, and, near by, General Tang En-po's 
forces, perhaps the most experienced and powerful group army in China. 
While I was there it was laying great emphasis on the education of its 

Sister Erminietta was a pretty young woman with big brown eyes in 
which the joyousness of youth and the gravity of experience struggled for 
mastery. Though she shared the pious life of the Convent, it was always 
difficult for me to reconcile her forthright speech and manner with the 
robes of a nun. I would look at her hands, as rough and healthy as a 
peasant's, and listen to her remark that the Sisters did physical labour in 
praise of God. To her, God seemed more or less like a neighbour. She 
was the daughter of a poor Italian peasant and had entered a Canossian 
convent at the age of sixteen ; she repeatedly spoke of the last time she 
had seen her mother's face from a train window and of her sorrow 
when, in the previous year, she had received word of her death. 

She justified and ardently defended the system by which the religious 
order had broken her will and destroyed all personal desire in order to 
make her a perfect servant of the Church. While a novice she had ex- 
pressed a deep desire to go to China, of which she had read in missionary 
magazines in the convent. But because she had this desire, she had been 
sent to England the last place on earth she wished to go. She accepted 
this as the most perfect way to serve God, and only after four years, when 
all hope of going to China had been crushed out of her, was she suddenly 
informed that she was to leave for China immediately. 

Though the Catholics, like the Protestants, called the Chinese 
"heathens", the Catholics seemed to be more clever tkan the, dry, sin- 
conscious Protestants. Like the Taoists and Buddhists, the Catholic 
churches had images, a colourful and mystic pageantry, chanting, and 
incense, I thought of the many Christian wayside shrines which I had 
seen in Europe bloody repellent images of Jesus on the Cross. The 

small Chinese wayside shrines to Tu Ti Kung-Kungy the Earth God and 
his wife, which graced every village, seemed far more appealing. 

Whenever a missionary mentioned the word "heathen'* in my presence, 
I reminded him that I also was a "heathen", a remark that kept one 
missionary in Junan, Honan, on his knees for almost a week, praying for 
my soul. I carefully read the tracts he gave me, then urged him to show 
me something not based on the fear of death. He nearly passed out 
when I informed him that Jesus had been a social revolutionary who had 
been crucified because he fought the ruling class of his day, much as 
njodern revolutionaries have done ever since. When my young friend the 
nun told me that the missionaries had given up home, family, and com- 
fort to preach to the "heathen", I disagreed about the "comfort", and 
also reminded her that modern revolutionaries also give up home, family, 
and often life itself for their principles. 

I cared not at all whether men and women were Christian or 
"heathen", provided they served mankind and did not try to prevent the 
emancipation of the poor. The Canossian Sisters knew nothing of such 
ideas, but they served the Chinese people without political motives 
which their priests did not. I was not too much repelled when they pre- 
sented me with a religious charm and urged me to wear it, and during 
air-raids to call upon Our Lady. But I preferred to depend on the Chinese 

After leaving Nanyang, I was able to send the Sisters considerable 
medicine and money to care for air-raid victims and wounded soldiery! 
On July 5, 1940, Sister Erminietta wrote me a letter of which the following 
are extracts : 

Sorrow is indeed the lot of every man here below, while waiting for 
a bliss to come. . . . Months ago many wounded and feverish soldiers 
were brought from the battlefield, and two of our nurses went to the 
military hospital each day to help. I myself had the great pleasure of 
going with the Sisters sometimes. But one of the Sisters contracted 
typhus from the soldiers. Then the second Sister also came down with 
it. Meanwhile, on May 6th, Nanyang was badly bombed and the 
victims were over one hundred. On May nth, while our two Sisters 
lay sick, a Japanese plane came and dropped two bombs right down on 
our Convent, a few yards off the room where the sick Sisters lay. . . . 

We will remain here in spite of anything, ready to live or die with 
these poor brethren of ours, trusting that God in His Mercy will nOt 
only continue to protect us, but enable us to do the utmost to help 
those who suffer. . . . 

In another letter, dated May 8, 1941, Sister Erminietta wrote: 

Our news are something like last year, rather we had something 
worse because this time the Japanese actually occupied Nanyang after 


dreadful bombings of two days, with very short periods of rest. 
Fortunately the people had in the great majority left the city a few 
days before, dreading what might happen in such frightful events. A 
few days before the occupation one of our Sisters fell seriously sick, and 
so our Bishop, who resides in a village twelve li off at Kinkiakan, 
invited the Sisters to go over there. . . . But contrary to every sup- 
position, the Japanese passed by there even before occupying Nanyang 
and of course the village was badly bombed. We took care of forty 
victims there but many more in Nanyang. A week later I too fell 
grievously sick so that I hardly escaped dying. A few days later another 
Sister also fell sick of a very dangerous disease which brought her to 
heaven. Now another Sister is affected with the same serious disease. 

I forgot to tell you that in the bombing before the occupation 
some houses of ours have again been completely destroyed by in- 
cendiary balls. . . . The Japanese soon left Nanyang, but set fire to 
the city, which looked like a furnace. . . . 

Dear friend, you are so kind to send money and medicine for us. 
No help can now reach us except by you whom God kindly inspires to 
help us. ... On our part we will continue to do all we can to succour 
those who have recourse to us, since we came to China for nothing 
else than for this. I am sorry we have not received the typewriter 
ribbons you sent us but still hope for them. . . . 

We like to remember you, how you arrived here on a rainy night, 
so dark, and we only feared that we could not give you something 
that might suit your taste. Instead you had no pretensions and were 
so glad for very little. How many things have taken place since then ! 

Rev. Mother and all the Sisters send you their love along with 

Sincerely yours, 

Erminietta Cattaneo F.D.C.C. 





JL HE JAPANESE MURDERERS were without a sword. America gave 
them the sword." 

General Li Chung-ren, Commander-in-Chief of the Fifth War Zone, 
was speaking. After a day in his headquarters near Laohokuo, in Hupeh 
Province, I had asked him to give me a message to the American people. 
It was December i, 1939. His message was this: 

"China expects the United States to declare a total embargo on 
materials of war to Japan. I believe the American people are sympathetic 
to China and are especially opposed to indiscriminate Japanese bombings 
of defenceless cities. But their will is totally subordinated to the private 
profits of a few business men. This is a terrible thing. The Japanese 
murderers were without a sword. America gave them the sword." 

We had talked through one whole day. First I interviewed him, then 
he interviewed me, after which we sailed out on the open sea of general 

He was an unusually friendly man and astonishingly well informed. 
Ordinary in appearance, he might have been a citizen of almost any 
Western country. He was a Kwangsi man with a stormy military past 
and had the directness and frankness of most such military men. 

His headquarters was located in two small houses in a tiny village 
outside Laohokuo. The mud walls had been papered with plain white 
paper manufactured by a local industrial co-operative, ceilings of un- 
varnished yellow boards had been put in, and the earthen floors covered 
with clean yellow matting. The large outer room was used for military 
conferences. A long table covered with blue cotton cloth extended down 
its length. On this rested a large, solitary, cream-coloured vase holding 
the crooked stalk of a winter plant in blossom. One entire wall was 
covered by a white and black military map dotted with red circles and 
squares marking Japanese positions. The map added to the chaste 
beauty of the room. 

General Li's combination office and living-room led off this conference 
room. It contained a narrow board bed, a desk piled with papers and 
documents, and a bookcase filled with books and magazines. Two easy 
chairs and several hard ones were scattered around a glowing charcoal 
fire in a polished brass brazier. On the wall hung an art photograph of 
his wife and two children. An atmosphere of harmony, even peace, 
permeated the two rooms. A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and this small 
house. ... 


It was a little disconcerting to know that this pleasant and learned man 
commanded a vast war zone, and at Taierchwang had inflicted the first 
major military defeat the powerful Japanese Army had ever suffered. He 
talked much of world affairs, for, like all Chinese, he was deeply aware 
that ^China's struggle was linked with the struggle of all the peoples of 
the world. No people on earth except those of the Soviet Union have so 
much international awareness. General Li himself had just become a 
member of Colonel Henry L. Stimson's League against Aggression. He 
inquired about the fate of Evans F. Carlson, who had resigned from the 
Navy in order to tell the American people of China's struggle, and he 
asked why the United States did not co-operate with the Soviet Union in 
the Pacific. The termination of America's commercial treaty with Japan 
aroused some optimism in him that America's policy was changing. But 
he did not depend on this in estimating China's struggle. 

Discussing the war, he said : 

"We have traded space for time. We have prolonged the struggle, 
developed mobile and guerrilla warfare, organized the people, improved 
our administrative organs, and waged a war of attrition. Our man- 
power is limitless and national consciousness has increased with every 
inch of Japanese advance. Time and the human spirit are our allies. As 
a base Japan is very weak because almost all its war materials must come 
from abroad chiefly from America. That is a terrible thing, for Japan 
is also the mortal enemy of America. . . . The Japanese know they have 
no future in China. They cannot give up what they have gained and 
they cannot evacuate. So they cry for a peace of surrender, and traitors 
like Wang Ching-wei and his followers a gang of shameless opportunists 
and bureaucrats bought and paid for echo them. Japan's cry for peace 
is like Hitler's after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and Poland 
the cry of a bandit who talks of humanity after he has killed his victim." 

Once he made a terrible remark : 

"Now that the second World War has begun, American business men 
can sell war materials to Europe instead of Japan. So we expect a change 
in American policy towards the Far East." 

During the afternoon I reported on my experiences and observations. 
He then told me that I could go up to the front during the coming 
Chinese winter offensive, and that when I was ready he would send me 
in his car to Fancheng in the south, where the nth Group Kwangsi 
Army had its headquarters along the Han River (sometimes called the 
Hsiang River). He suggested that I visit the I73rd Division, commanded 
by Major-General Chung Yi. 

We saluted and parted. It had been one of the most impressive days 
I had had in China. . 

Before I left him, the General called my attention to the Korean 
Volunteer Unit in the Fifth War Zone, and I made arrangements to 
visit it. 

Captain Li Yeh-hsing, leader of the small Korean Volunteer Unit in 
Laohokuo, introduced me to his four companions one of them a woman 
and said that five others were up at the front. Then he undertook to 
answer my many questions about his unit. 

There were said to be around five hundred to a thousand Korean 
Volunteers in China at the time, all political workers in four different 
war zones. Since the Japanese had begun using Korean soldiers for the 
first time, the Volunteers were .being transferred to the fronts on which 
such soldiers were used. 

The Volunteers in Laohokuo had heavy duties. All enemy documents 
and broadcasts were turned over to them for study, analysis, and transla- 
tion into Chinese. They were in charge of the clandestine distribution of 
handbills and pamphlets to Japanese troops at the front, and conducted 
the Japanese Language School which the Political Department of the 
Fifth War Zone had founded and in which two hundred Chinese were 
studying. Three hours each day they taught Japanese captives the back- 
ground of the Sino-Japanese War, the Three People's Principles of Sun 
Yat-sen, social science, and the Chinese language. 

Hu Wei-pei, one of the Volunteers, had just returned from the front 
lines, and told me of the methods which he and his colleagues adopted to 
reach the Japanese. Peasants carried handbills into enemy-occupied 
regions and scattered them about. The Volunteers themselves crept up 
to Japanese positions at night and hung leaflets over the barbed -wire 
entanglements. They flew kites bearing anti-war slogans, tied bundles of 
leaflets around rocks and hurled them into Japanese positions, and some- 
times used bows and arrows to shoot them in. In places where Chinese 
and Japanese trenches were close together, they sang anti-war songs or 
lectured in Japanese through megaphones. 

Mr. Hu said that he once delivered speeches to Japanese soldiers for 
two nights in succession. On the third night an officer stuck his head 
above the enemy trenches and fiercely asked him who he was. Mr. Hu 
gave a Japanese name and address. "I chose a very stylish address in 
Tokyo," he explained. "I told the officer that he lied to his troops in saying 
that Chinese tortured Japanese captives to death, and I said the bullets 
used against China were the sweat and blood of the Japanese people." 

"You are a traitor and a disgrace to the Great Imperial Army!" the 
Japanese officer bawled. "We will tear you limb from limb ! Japan grows 
stronger and richer by the war !" 

"Filthy liar! We know what lies you officers tell!" shouted Mr. Hu. 
A hail of bullets sang over him as he ducked back into the Chinese trench. 

With a touch of poetic justice the Fifth War Zone authorities delivered 
all Japanese captives to the Korean Volunteers. In the previous three 
months the Volunteers had examined forty, kept three who were willing 
to be educated in anti-war work among the Japanese Army, and trans- 
ferred the others to Chungking. I was introduced to the three Japanese 

prisoners, and they asked me to look at some of their work. Ito, a former 
baseball champion, fancied himself a highly educated and cultured man. 
He had childishly daubed paint over three huge sheets of paper and called 
them Chinese war posters. I tried to show polite interest, but could not 
make head or tail of them. One poster was supposed to show a victorious 
Chinese soldier bayoneting a defeated Japanese. This was labelled 
"Victory". Staring at this creation, I knew he was a cheat, or worse. 
"Why don't you paint things in which you believe?" I asked. He stared 
at me in amazement, and the other two Japanese sat with blank faces 
and downcast eyes. 

Before leaving, the three Japanese asked if they could have a talk with 
me about their personal problems, and though I could not understand 
what their motives were, I invited them and Captain Li to have tea with 
me the next afternoon at the Norwegian Mission Hospital, where I was 
staying. They came at the appointed time, but when the Chinese ser- 
vants heard that some Japanese were in the garden, they were afraid to 
come out and, instead, stood staring out through the windows. 

Matsui Katsutso, a worker from Tokyo, first stared at his hands, then 
turned his sombre eyes on me and spoke in a depressed voice. They were 
prisoners of war, he said, and because they had helped the Chinese a 
little, they could never return home. The Chinese also did not trust 
them and they could not see what kind of future men in theirposition had. 

Of course I could see no future for them either, for the war might con- 
tinue for years. I asked them if they wanted fee present Government in 
Japan, and if not, what kind they wanted. They had never thought at all 
about such matters until they were captured, they said. Itake, formerly 
an actor, said that no Japanese wanted to see his country suffer. He 
hadn't wanted the war and had fought only because compelled ; he said 
he hoped for a government in which there would be no class discrimina- 
tion and no rich men who owned everything. Yes, he admitted, the 
Koreans had taught him these ideas ; he did not know whether men in his 
Army ever thought about such things ; if they did, he had never heard 
of them. 

The baseball champion said that he "used to just go to school and play 
baseball". After he Ijiad graduated from high school he had gone into 
business, but still had no "serious thoughts". He had hated the war, but 
felt he couldn't do anything about it. Now he had begun "to think about 
society", but was afraid the war would go on for years. He admitted 
that he used to think the Japanese would eventually be victorious. "Our 
Army is very strong," he said. 

He talked about the danger to Japanese soldiers and his people, but 
not a word about the sufferings of the Chinese. Trying to keep my voice 
soft, I asked him if he could blame the Chinese for not trusting them. 
"Your Army kills prisoners and the wounded," I reminded him. "It 
rapes even little girls and old women. I've seen grey-haired children and 

insane pregnant women thanks to your Army. The people call you 

Ito reacted violently. "It's because uneducated coolies became 
officers !" he declared. "Now our Government has given orders that no 
coolie can be an officer !" 

Matsui and I take lowered their eyes in embarrassment at this, but Ito 
stuck his heavy chin out at me stubbornly. Useless to talk with such a 
fellow, I thought, and, turning to Matsui,. asked him what he thought 
about the future. "There is no hope unless we have a revolution in 
Japan," he said, but added : "If that takes place, what would happen to 
the Japanese Army? The spy system is so strong that our soldiers dare 
not say a word. If a man doesn't want to fight, he can only commit 

I asked the three Japanese why they didn't prepare for leadership^in 
the Army. In captivity they had a chance to do this, and there were a 
few Japanese in Chungking, such as Kadji, the writer, who were teaching 
Japanese captives just such things. Matsui gave an incredulous grunt. 
"We are simple men we couldn't lead a revolution!" 

"You can learn !" Captain Li replied, watching him curiously, and to 
Captain Li's encouragement I added my own, telling the men that they 
were young and could afford to spend even years in study. Men in 
Western countries had done it, I told him ; were they inferior to Western 

Ito nearly exploded. Thrusting his jaw out at me again, he informed 
me that the Japanese were not inferior to any white man. Good, I re- 
plied, and then proposed that he try to prove that he was not inferior to 
the many Japanese revolutionaries who had died in Japanese prisons. 
Those men were inferior to no man, white or coloured. "Carry on their 
work," I challenged the three men. "If you don't, your Army will go 
down in history as all murderers and rapists. Well, I don't blame your 
Army alone today a Chinese General told me that you had no sword 
until my country gave you one. So we are both criminals." 

Captain Li, translating for us, began to speak in a low, passionate 
voice in Japanese, as if our words had released some well of emotion 
within him. The Japanese sat staring at me. 


\V ITHIN LITTLE MORE than a year the Chinese Industrial Co- 
operatives had spread all over western China. Within half that time 
that is, by early December 1939 Laohokuo had six co-operatives doing 
spinning and weaving, one making paper, one producing improved 
spinning-machines, .one preparing chemicals for candles, soap, cotton, 
and gauze, and three oil refineries. Six months later there were twenty- 


four co-operatives in the province, two of them managed by the Women's 
Committee of the Fifth War Zone, 

One morning I went into a co-operative and found sixty refugees at 
work spinning, weaving, and operating stocking-knitting machines. This 
small institution was one of the most pleasant places I had come across in 
years. As I entered, the people were singing at their machines the first 
time I had ever heard such a thing in China. The whole city had spent 
most of the night on its feet : it had had three air-raid alarms. But the 
workers seemed unaffected, for it had become a part of their existence. 
In the daytime most of the population slept in the country, returning in 
the late afternoon. But the co-operative worked through the day; its 
members did not even try to get away when alarms sounded. 

The co-operative was both a family and a small self-governing re- 
public. Its supervisory committee was elected by its members from their 
own ranks. Each month they all gathered to hear business reports, to 
discuss their work and economic and personal problems, and to suggest 
improvements. They worked eight hours a day, held union meetings, 
published their own wall newspaper, and attended night school. They 
even had their own theatrical group. No child under twelve was allowed 
to work ; a co-operative primary school took care of them. Children and 
the aged were granted subsidies. 

The average earnings of a co-operative member were fifteen dollars a 
month ; if there was a profit it was divided according to the stock held 
by each member. The preceding month had produced a profit of $300, 
but the workers decided to set aside 20 per cent of it as savings, 10 per 
cent as reserve capital, 10 per cent for "public services" such as education 
and medical supplies, and 10 per cent for pensions or the relief of mem- 
bers. They had also just asked Industrial Co-operative Headquarters in 
Chungking for a long-term loan of $10,000, and if it was granted they 
expected to lay in a good stock of raw material and take in many more 
workers. There was a long waiting list of refugees, many of them skilled 
workers, but some who needed training. 

The institution had two experienced "high-salaried" specialists, both 
of them educated refugees. One, the manager, was paid $50 a month, 
and the other, treasurer and book-keeper, $40. The manager disre- 
garded hours and was on his feet constantly. He felt that this small 
factory was helping to win the war. A small store in the front of the build- 
ing sold goods, but he was planning to open a large one in the centre of 
the town. This would cause some trouble with the large merchants, but 
the move was inevitable. 

Some factory-owners and officials were saying that the co-operatives 
ruined the workers by making them proud and independent. Co- 
operatives were all right as a temporary war-time necessity, they declared, 
but after the war what? In the meantime the co-operative workers held 
fast and worked like mad. One weaver talked with me while his foot- 

operated shuttle flew without stopping. He had been a small Anhwei 
business man until ruined by the war, and had learned weaving in order 
to join the co-operative. Nothing would get him out of it now, he said. 
He could weave twenty yards of cloth a day. 

Fifteen girls were operating stocking-knitting machines. They could 
knit five pairs a day, which were sold to the big stores at $5,60 a dozen. 
The retail price on the market was too high, said the manager, and the 
merchants had threatened to ask the Government to lower the blockade 
on Japanese goods if they did not lower the price. 

One girl looked up and exclaimed : "I don't think the Government 
will do it! I should make the blockade more strict. We simply can't 
compete with cheap Japanese goods !" 

"What we need is more co-operatives," another girl declared. "Then 
everybody will be better off." 

I recalled the shy, inarticulate girls of pre-war days. These war-time 
co-operatives were producing a new kind of womanhood indeed, a new 
kind of human being. 

The manager, it is true, had his worries and doubts. He thought pro- 
ductive work and relief work should not be mixed up. As it was now, the 
co-operatives sometimes lost mpney because they had so many unpro- 
ductive children and old people to support. He thought only productive 
workers should be admitted and that they should be able to earn enough 
to support their families. And yet he knew, he said, that one of the main 
purposes of the co-operatives was to solve the refugee problem and to 
provide for all the people. 

While we talked we heard the heart-sickening wail of an air-raid siren 
and the clanging of the bell in the near-by Catholic church tower. 
Workers lifted their heads and listened, and all singing md whistling 
stopped. The building was on the edge of the town, and the Catholic 
church flew the Italian flag, so the chances of being bombed were less 
than in the heart of the city. I looked through the street door and saw 
the children from the co-operative primary school marching in orderly 
file towards the church. But the machines in the little factory still 

When the "urgent" sounded, everyone listened even more intently. 
Soon the roar of bombers rose above the whirring and clacking of the 

"The sword again!" I thought with dread, recalling General Li's 
words. At last the roar passed and began to fade. But what about 
tonight or tomorrow? 


JLT WAS TEN at night on December 6, 1939, and I was waiting in a 
small inn in Fancheng, central Hupeh Province, where I had been the 
guest of the Kwangsi nth Group Army for a few days. Finally a young 
officer came in and said : "General Chung Yi is now free and is waiting 
near here." 

He led my secretary and me along the dark, cobble-stoned main street, 
past the ruins of bombed buildings, and into a deserted and partially 
demolished structure. We went up the rickety stairs to a large, hall-like 
room that somehow seemed peopled with the unseen presence of many 
men. There were many rough benches and chairs and three or four 
tables. The dust on the floor and window-sills had been disturbed, for 
the Chinese winter offensive was to start soon, and in this room, I knew, 
the fate of thousands of men had just been determined. 

Close to a guttering candle on one of the tables lay an upturned 
military cap. In the dim light behind the table I saw a man in khaki. 
He was standing perfectly still, his face turned towards me, his black eyes 
appraising me. He was of medium height and quite young I learned 
later that he was thirty-nine. The face was pleasant rather than hand- 
some, and when he spoke, his deep voice was softly musical, with the 
faintest touch of wistfulness in it. I had heard such voices before, and 
nearly always became friends with the men who possessed them. 

This was my first meeting with Major-General Chung Yi, commander 
of the iron 1 73rd Division of the nth Group Army. We sat down at the 
table, the candle between us, and I felt as if I had known him always. 
He might have been saying : "As I told you before " 

On this evening he said something that others had said so often that 
it had come to sound like a phrase learned by rote. But when he said it, 
it seemed to spring from all that gave his life meaning. "We have our 
faith," he said. "Victory will not be easy, but we will fight until vic- 
torious. We have our faith tell your countrymen. . . ." 

Later, in his headquarters, he told me that he sprang from a poor land- 
owning family of scholars of Hunan district, Kwangsi Province. His 
father had been a teacher, and he himself had studied with the intention 
of following the same profession. But the national revolutionary move- 
ment had aroused every conscious Chinese, and he had entered a military 
academy. When civil war between the Kuomintang and the Com- 
munists began in 1927, he had refused to take part, but had withdrawn 
and studied for a time in Japan, earning his living as \ tutor. After leav- 
ing Japan he continued to teach in Shanghai until the Japanese invasion 
began, when he returned to active military duty. He had since fought on 
most of the major fronts. Since military men in China are promoted on 
the basis of merit rather than years of Service, he was now a Major* 
General. His division had covered many Chinese retreats, fighting rear- 

guard actions, and his force had been all but wiped out time and time 
again. In the last big Japanese offensive in May and June of that year 
he had again lost most of his effectives, and was now training new recruits 
from Kwangsi. 

At dawn the next morning my secretary and I, with General Chung 
Yi's secretary, stepped on a junk and were swept down the river Han to 
his headquarters. Once we anchored under some branches near the shore 
while enemy bombers passed overhead. We watched them circle, swoop, 
and bomb Fancheng and its ancient twin city across the river, Hsiang- 
yang. There was an American Swedish missionary hospital there, 
already filled with air-raid victims, and now it would have more. 
Although it lay on the outskirts of the city and flew the American flag, 
that hospital had itself been bombed twice. 

Major-General Chung Yi met us before a building in the village where 
his general headquarters were located. He wore no cap, and his voice 
was agaih almost wistful as he said, by way of welcoming me, that I was 
the first foreign friend who had "cared enough for us to come to the 
front". Such friends were valuable, he added, because it took months to 
get publications to the front; what radios the armies had were only 

He introduced me to a young man who spoke good English and had 
studied political science. Here again I touched threads of social conflict, 
for shortly before, I learned, many educated youth suspected of "dan- 
gerous thoughts" had been driven from the Fifth War Zone headquarters. 
Hearing of this "purge", General Chung had wired this young man to 
join his staff to help him study political science. 

The vice-commander, a product of old China, began the breakfast by 
formally apologizing for the poor food, although the food was excellent. 
The conversation that followed continued for more than an hour, 
General Chung asking me of my travels and work and talking of the 
terrible condition of the wounded throughout the country. He had a 
number of fairly good physicians in his division, but their medical sup- 
plies were limited. After breakfast we retired to the General's room and 
talked for many hours. He walked restlessly about, speaking of his last 
campaign. His voice trembled and his eyes smouldered when he said : 
"I could hear the cries of the wounded, but could do nothing." The 
Japantse had used poison gas on one of his regiments. 

I asked him what he thought would happen if the Japanese Army 
suffered great defeats. 

'"It's difficult to say," he answered. "Their morale is maintained by 
victories. Strategically it is dangerous for them to maintain a battle line 
from Suiyuan to Canton, but they do many things with an eye on their 
international position. Pitt certain that their peace with the Soviet 
Union is but a temporary expedient and the time will come when the 
two countries will be at war. Then Japan will be defeated. But that will 


not happen yet. Japan has its eyes on the Dutch East Indies. That would 
make them independent of American oil and some other supplies." 

He began to ask me penetrating questions about American policy and 
the extent of Japanese espionage and propaganda in America. He could 
not possibly understand, he said, why America should behave so foolishly 
unless it hoped that both China and Japan would be so weakened by 
the war that they could be more easily exploited afterwards. 

On another occasion three young officers shyly led me into their "club 
room" a low mud-and- thatch hut. War books and magazines lay all 
around, and the walls were lined with maps and banners, and prints of 
Madame Curie, Marconi, Pasteur, Lincoln, Washington, and many 
others. At one end hung the national and Kuomintang flags over large 
pictures of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. 

A number of yo\|ng officers came to tell me of the way they trained the 
soldiers, and they soon led me to a building where some two hundred 
young "political soldiers" were waiting, notebooks and pencils ready; 
for this division had introduced a new system of training literate soldiers 
to act as political educators in the ranks. The regimental -commander 
introduced me as a "foreign friend of China who cares enough for us to 
come to the front", and announced that I was to give them reports on 
conditions in the enemy rear. 

One morning at dawn, when the hoar-frost glistened on the dry grass 
blades, I tried to shake the bitter cold from my body and mind and pre- 
pare for another lecture. General Chung Yi stood with me on a knoll 
and introduced me to his staff. I drew my padded greatcoat closer about 
my throat and spoke as best I could on the ' international situation. 
Afterwards we all went into headquarters, arid the staff questioned me 
about events throughout the world, though they often knew far more 
than I. As we talked we sipped from bowls of hot weak wine in which 
soft eggs floated. This delicacy was served in my honour, for the division, 
like all the armies, served only two meals a day. 

Soon a general review of the division began. A high military commis- 
sion had arrived from Chungking to inspect the training and equipment 
of the armies that would take part in the winter offensive. By the time 
they reached our sector, the wide plains and barren plateaus appeared to 
have been transformed into a gigantic historical pageant. I seemed to 
be gazing on old canvases of the Napoleonic Wars. The troops marched 
or ran about or engaged in mock warfare, and everywhere there was the 
hollow sound of mortars, the hammering of machine-guns, and the crack 
of rifles. I did not even dream that within half a year most of these men 
would be dead. 

When the review and manoeuvres ended we returned to divisional 
headquarters and stood around long tables spread with food. The winter 
sun glinted on the red-and-gold insignia on the collars of the officers. As 
Major-General Chung moved about, they congratulated him, for his was 

one of the best divisions in China. He listened thoughtfully, answered 
reticently. Sometimes he stopped to exchange a few words with me, and 
I felt the melancholy that hovered around him. 

On that evening there was a banquet spread over seven big tables in 
the great bamboo-thatched dining-hall. I sat between General Chung 
and one of the inspectors from Chungking; .across from us was tall, 
strong General Afei, commander of the Eighty-fourth Army, of which the 
173 Division was a part. The conversation remained formal and polite 
until the wine loosened tongues. Then everyone began to lift his wine- 
cup and appraise the manoeuvres freely. 

The formal vice-commander of the division rose from a table at the 
far end of the room, raised his wine-cup, and toasted me with an old 
poem. Following the custom, I arose and, cup in hand, replied with a 
few lines from a poem whose author I could not remember. The vice- 
commander recalled it, and the tables broke into applause. Surely, I 
thought, no people were so gracious, none so magnificent as those willing 
to face death for the sake of all that they thought good in life. 

When I sat down, General Chung lifted his cup, merely touching his 
lips to it, and said : "You put many Chinese men to shame." 

"You also," I began, but faltered ; for I saw that he had not spoken 
with traditional politeness, but from the heart. Would he say such a 
thing if he knew I was not brave, that I feared air-raids, and had said 
to myself a thousand times that I hated war, that I was not made for 
war? And he? I studied him as he, sat turning his wine-cup round and 
round between his fingers, staring at it, unseeing. No, such a man as he 
was not made for war either. He belonged in a laboratory or on the plat- 
form of a university. But if he had followed his inclinations, there would 
be no laboratories, no universities at all. 

He rose, the voices in the hall died away, and every man stood. He 
began speaking of the general review and of the coming offensive in which 
he would take part, and he pledged his division to the nation. When he 
had finished, there was a long silence before we all sat down again. 

The high inspectors left for other armies, but the night manoeuvres 
continued. I went out with Chung Yi and his staff, tramping along dark 
paths and through wheat-fields where sentries crouched in silence. There 
was no moon and only a faint light from the stars in the black heavens. 
The only sound was the tread of our feet. "Enemy searchlights!" 
Chung Yi shouted. The dark columns fell flat, motionless, their guns 
ready. We moved on and on until we were in position to watch soldiers 
creeping up round a sleeping village. Of course we captured all the 
enemy positions that night ! 

Afterwards thte soldiers marched back singing the divisional song, the 
Marseillaise set to Chinese words, and the lines drifted fitfully back through 
the blackness. . . . * 

As I sat round those candle-lit tables and chatted with my friends, it 
K (China) - 289 

sometimes seemed that I was probing into the heart of China. Barriers 
of race and nationality vanished, and we were all human beings seeking 
a common goal. Chung Yi asked me again if I thought that America, 
England, and France really wished China to be victorious. The British 
surely feared the effects of a Chinese victory on the people of India, and 
the French were terrified about Indo-China. I agreed, believing that if 
China was not conquered and made Fascist, it would be the spearhead of 
oppressed Asiatic peoples. But I was convinced that the common people 
of the various countries would sympathize with China if they only knew 
the truth. 

Once again Chung Yi began to speak of the doubts and worries that 
troubled him, and somehow I knew what they were even before he had 
finished speaking. We talked of Japan's ceaseless movement towards the 
oil and other supplies of the Dutch East Indies. Did I think America 
would renew its commercial treaty with Japan rather than allow Japan 
to buy all its oil from the Dutch East Indies? I thought it might. Were 
not American business men evading the "moral embargo" on war 
materials to Japan? I felt certain they were. Once he asked if I thought 
China should adopt the capitalist system, even though it dispossessed and 
starved millions and led to war and more war. I wondered. Speaking 
lialf to himself, he continued : "Men are afraid of life. They heap up 
j wealth to make themselves and their children secure ; but then there is 
1 only insecurity." 

Just where had he and I talked before, I sometimes wondered. Some- 
thing haunted me, like a half-forgotten melody. Afterwards, lying on my 
yellow straw bed in the darkness, I would listen to the night sounds and 
^think for the thousandth time of the spiritual bonds that are formed at 
the front, intangible, but so much stronger than steel or flesh. 

On the night before I was to accompany one of Chung Yi's comman- 
ders to a regiment nearer the battlefield, we gathered for & final dinner. 
The flickering candles glinted on the small porcelain wine-cups and on the 
little pots of bei-gar and warm rice wine. I had made arrangements to 
return and join the division when it was ordered up, for I wished to 
write a story of it from the very beginning to the very end of a battle. 
Thinking of the fierce way his troops fought, Chung Yi had hesitated, 
then said he would welcome me with all his heart. That evening we spoke 
"little of politics and more of poets and novelists, of artists and the theatre. 
-We told tales and drank to everything on earth. I toasted soldiers and 
-officers who fought and died for "a civilization in which they would have 
.no share", and Chung Yi lifted his cup to "brave and learned women". 
To this I protested, insisting that I was neither brave nor learned, but 
merely "historically curious". Laughing, the table drank to "historical 

How varied was the conversation that night! Once, I remember, a 
young Mohammedan officer began boasting of the power of the Koran, 

saying he knew a man who had died, but whose corpse had grown soft 
again when the Koran was placed on it ! Then someone had changed the 
subject, declaring that the three best things in life were an American J 
house, a Japanese wife, and Chinese food. I informed the young man j 
that he liked the Japanese wife because she was the most servile on earth. I 
Chung Yi listened to this and added to it by asking me if I had seen, near 
Sian, a famous archway to a wife who waited for eighteen years while her 
husband, a General, was at the front. She sank into dire poverty, but 
remained faithful to him. What did I think of such a woman? he asked, 
watching me from the corner of his eye. Before I could reply, the vice- 
commander declared that the story was a tribute to the virtues of Chinese 
womanhood. This was remarkable, I declared, but what had the General 
done during those eighteen years, and where might I find even one 
archway to a faithful husband? 

A young poet rose and said elegantly : "I drink to archways to faithful 
generals !" then laughed and dropped back into his chair. 

Soon most of them had forgotten me and were arguing in loud voices 
with one another. 

But Chung Yi bent forward and asked : "What would a modern woman 
have done during those eighteen years?" and I countered : "What does a 
modern general do?" The vice-commander seemed shocked at our levity, 
but we bent forward, laughing at each other across the flickering candles. 

Next morning at dawn Chung Yi walked down to the river bank with 
us. We stood in silence for a moment, and then I said : "When you are 
ordered to the front, let me know, and I will return to your division and 
write about it." 

"I will welcome you," he said. Then he opened his hand and in the 
palm I saw a small jade ring. 

"This was given me by people who came to the front," he said. "It 
is of little value, but it is a symbol of hope and faith. Take it." 

I could not speak. 

We lingered at the river, then led our horses on to the ferry and crossed. 
Beyond, we rode up a hill towards a village. Chung Yi still stood on the 
other bank, alone. I turned my horse and lifted my hand. He raised his 
arm and kept it lifted until the walls of the village cut us off. 

The pockmarked Colonel riding by my side cried out something, and 
we all broke into a wild gallop and swept down the frozen highway 
towards the front. 

The receptipn given me by the sigth Regiment of Chung Yi's division 
cheered me greatly. The regimental commander, Colonel Yang Chang- 
chen, was my host, but the whole regiment took a hand in welcoming me. 
Colonel Yang looked like a boulder worn and pitted by many summers' 
rains. The soldiers loved and trusted him, saying of him that he was 
"cold-minded but warm-hearted, and born without a sense of fear". 

Sometimes I saw him pat a sentry on the shouldef and ask him how things 
were going with him ; the soldier would snap to attention with a grin, say 
that things were fine, and ask him how he liked the cold weather. 

"When I joined the Army, I was just sixteen/ 9 Colonel Yang once said 
in answer to a question. "I am now an old man of thirty-four the oldest 
in the regiment." 

He was also the most inarticulate, and I had to drag his words from 
him. "My family were poor peasants," he told me. "When I left home, 
they wrapped twenty cents in a piece of red paper and told me to use it 
carefully to buy food. Instead of joining the Army, my aunt told njie to go 
out and get rich in the foreign way. I said : 'Nonsense I will serve my 
country P but she said : 'A plague on your country !' No, I never married. 
I was so ugly that no girl would have me. They called me 'Pockmarked 
Yang', and said I looked like a cook. So I was a soldier for many years. 
When the Japanese invasion began I was a battalion commander. After 
the Shanghai battle we fought for Hsuchow, covering the retreat. We 
fought throughout central China and defended Hankow. Now we are a 

I never worked harder in my life than in that first week in the 5igth 
Regiment. There were lectures at the training camp for political 
soldiers, talks with men in the barracks, and a thousand tales of battle. 
Approximately eighty per cent of the soldiers were peasants, ten per cent 
workers, ten per cent students. All were between twenty and thirty years 
old. More than seventy per cent were illiterate, but they apologized, 
saying that most of them were new recruits and had just started their 
competition in reading and writing. "Come back later," they said. 

At night I sat round open campfires with the young officers and they 
told me tales of battles. As we talked, the leaping fire flickered on a long 
slogan on the wall behind them : Weld the Army into iron. But I noticed 
that one young officer never smiled or laughed, sitting with sombre, 
downcast eyes; once when he looked into my face it seemed he was 
searching for something, something lost long ago when there was no war. 
He was like a ghost at the camp-fire, and from something Colonel Yang 
once said, I understood why. This group, he said, had once been the 
I3ist Division nothing was left of it but one regiment, and most of that 
was made up of new recruits. 

"We lost so many commanders that the Army had to make me regi- 
mental commander," Colonel Yang added. No one contradicted him, 
for everyone had been promoted in this way. Their training had been 
on the battlefield. 

One officer told me that in the first months of the war no quarter was 
given to enemy soldiers who threw up their hands. The news had spread 
through all China that thousands of unarmed Chinese had been 
slaughtered in Nanking, and with them the wounded soldiers who could 
not be moved. When Colonel Yang saw Japanese who cried for mercy 

his voice became high and he screamed : "Sha-h-h-h-h-h !" and his men 
fell on them, leaving not one alive. 

The vice-commander, Guo Ping, had been a student and poet when 
the war began. He was the correspondent for a Kwangsi newspaper, but 
could seldom find time to write. He was twenty-five, he said, and had 
been mentioned for merit by the Government for having taken command 
of a company and helped cover the retreat of the whole Army after the 
fall of Hsuchow. The isist Division had fought the rearguard action, 
evacuating civilians from every village as the enemy advanced. 

And yet when I asked Guo Ping to tell me some story of heroism, he 
said at first that he couldn't think of one ! Hesitantly he mentioned 
several incidents : another vice-commander, Liu Shih-li, had once led his 
company against a convoy of Japanese trucks, wiped it out, killed a high 
Japanese staff officer, and taken valuable documents. The Japanese had 
many of their women with them, and they too had been killed. Com- 
mander Liu had also once held four strategic villages for one hour while 
the enemy closed in, killing half of the defenders and wounding Liu 
twice. When their job was done, Liu had ordered those few of his men 
who remained alive to retreat ; he himself had brought up the rear with a 
wounded messenger, killing seven more Japanese who tried to capture 

Guo Ping and the Political Director of the regiment helped the 
political soldiers publish a monthly front magazine, Pei Ten, or White 
Bayonet. This magazine had been born in the trenches while the regi- 
ment had held a sector for six months. It printed stories, poems, songs, 
and essays written by the soldiers. From its pages I culled extracts from 
soldiers' diaries. One began : 

A few stars shine in the sky, the wind moans, and it is very cold. We 
march through silent mountains. Not even a dog barks. No cock 
crows. There is no human voice. All things have fled. When we came 
we did not expect this. 

We will defend Shuihsien. We must take and hold Highland $ 1 752. 
We pass farmhouses, climb a low hill, scatter and cover the hill, and 
wait for the command. Then bullets sing out. "Pih-pah! Pih-pah! 
Pih-pah!" everywhere. Our small field-pieces roll along with a great 
noise. Smoke is over everything and the whole hill seems to be moving. 
After an hour the sun comes up as red as if it were drunk. The bugle 
calls for attack, and our white bayonets are on the end of our rifles. 
We lift ourselves and rush forward. The machine-guns and field-guns 
sound very bitter. 

"Sha! Sh*a!" We kill and go like a storm over Highland $ 1752. 
The bodies of the enemy cover the earth, and their blood turns the 
withered grass red. It is very slippery. 

Finished, we stand in line. I look down my line and see that it is very 

short. Twenty of our company have died. Lung Yu-an, our vice- 
commander, has been wounded and our company commander killed. 
Another company commander and two battalion vice-commanders 
have been wounded and taken to the hospital. 

Another soldier wrote more volubly : 

After breakfast the day comes. The morning sun shines in our posi- 
tions. It brightens us up. Lao Tso sits on a rock and sings "Nanyang 
Kwang" [a Peiping opera aria]. He has a coarse voice, and I feel 
miserable when I hear him, but cannot stop him. 

Suddenly I remember, that the Kwangsi Student Army will come up 
to the front today to lecture to us. I take out my knife and mirror and 
begin scraping and pulling the hairs out of my chin. Lao Tso keeps on 
bawling at me. "What are you up to?" he asks. 

"The Kwangsi Student Army will come today, and maybe there 
will be a girl who will think of me if I clean my chin/' 

"I'd rather think of ," he says. 

Lao Tso is a wang-bah-tan who thinks of such things. He is really 
rotten. When the Fanche/ig-Hsiangyang Comfort Delegation came 
last time, he stared at the women like a hungry dog at wild geese. 

"You are just a wang-bak-tanl" I tell him. He does not care, and 
merely starts growling out a song again, and I keep on feeling miser- 
able. I take my water-bottle and wet my chin and pull out all the 
hairs. ... 

Well, this afternoon the Kwangsi Student Army came. There were 
seven or eight men and women, all young, and the men keep their hair 
about two inches long. They all dress as we do, but have no guns. 
They wear leather caps and red badges. A boy and girl came to our 
position. They were about the same age, and I wondered if they were 
man and wife. The man called us their Lao-san [countrymen], and said 
they were Kwangsi people like us. We told them that Kwangsi people 
are not the only Lao-san, but that everyone in the country now is 

They gave us a lecture about our families in Kwangsi. Kweilin has 
been often bombed, they said, but not very much damage done. The 
Government has ordered that the families of military men be given 
300 pounds of free rice. Our families cannot be taxed or conscripted 
for labour. We should not worry, they said, for our families are well 
taken care of. 

That Lao Tso sat gawking at the woman all the time. He made us 
all sick. Once he said to the man student : "I have ho young wife. 
What have you got to say to that?" 

"That does not matter/' said the man. "If you come home victorious 
it will be an honour for a girl to marry you." 

Lao Tso answered : "It's miserable because I am ugly and I don't 
sit around scraping the hairs off my chin.'* 

The girl student laughed and said that if he returned a hero from 
the war he could marry the most beautiful woman. Lao Tso only said : 

When the students left, we all laughed at Lao Tso, but he told us to 

ourselves. I hate to sit around for days listening to Lao Tso sing. 

It would be better to have to capture one of the enemy's big guns. 

In the following weeks and months on the central China battlefield, I 
wondered why no news came from Major-General Chung Yi's division. 
Yet in all the confusion how could a letter have reached me? Often I 
asked about the division, and people said this and that. Someone had 
heard that it had moved to the central front in the Ta Hung mountain 
range, but could not be certain. No one knew just where it was. The 
winter passed and spring came, and I had travelled I did not know how 
many hundreds of miles, walking a great part of the way, lecturing to 
soldiers, speaking at civilian mass meetings, working over the wounded 
with the roar of artillery and the droning of enemy planes haunting us 
day and night. In April a recurrent illness, complicated by malaria, 
forced me to go to a missionary hospital at Ichang in the rear, and when 
I did not recover, to continue on to Chungking. 

One day while I was there, a young poet, Loh Fan, who had been 
with me on the central front, crossed the Yangtze River and came to see 
me. He brought a letter which had been forwarded and re-forwarded. 
It was written by Chung Yi in English, despite the fact that he did not 
handle the language easily. The letter was dated in early February. His 
division, he wrote, would be on the Chunghsiang front and I should meet 
him there. The last lines worried me, for they were like a farewell. 
"You are a writer," he wrote. "You must always tell your countrymen 
that we will fight to the death until victorious. Do not forget," 

I suggested that Loh Fan wait a little while and* we would go back 
together. But malaria is a merciless affliction, and between relapses I 
could do no more than lecture, raffle off my front-line trophies, and buy 
medical supplies with the proceeds. I sent off supplies to many armies, 
including a number of cases to Chung Yi's division, and induced the 
Women's International Club of Chungking to adopt the I73rd Division 
and make surgical dressings for it. 

Then one day Loh Fan came to me again and said that Chung Yi's 
division had been annihilated and that General Chung himself was 
either dead or captured. I protested, calling it just another rumour. I 
did not believe it at all, yet it touched me like an icy wind. 

Loh Fan went away again. When he returned he brought a Kwangsi 
officer with him. I listened to them as in a dream. The Japanese had 
come with olanes. tanks, and motor-trucks across the north Hupeh 

wheat-fields. Chung Yi's division had again tried to cover a Chinese 
retreat. It had stood with its back to the Tang River and tried a counter- 
encirclement of the enemy. On May 9, 1940, at the village of Ts'uan Tai 
Chen, even his headquarters had been surrounded. Fifty-four men and 
a number of women from the Political Department had been killed in 
fierce fighting. Along with two guards Chung Yi had escaped into the 
fields. At last, to prevent capture, he had turned his pistol against himself. 

A guard who managed to escape had paid a peasant to go to the wheat- 
field when the enemy passed on, find his commander, and bury him. 
Later General Chung's brother had gone to Laohokuo and then to the 
battlefield. He had disinterred Chung Yi's body, and now it had been 
brought to Chungking for State burial. Soldiers marched to muffled 
drums, and Generalissimo Chiang conferred posthumous honours upon 
the dead. . . . 

On the night of the funeral I watched the pattern of trees against the 
dim sky beyond my window. The night was as black and brooding as 
my own spirit. Over and over again I lived through the battle in which 
Chung Yi had died. I kept seeing him as he had stood by the riverside, 
his hand uplifted in farewell and his voice saying something . . . yes, 
"It is a symbol of hope and faith." I saw the enemy planes and tanks 
and trucks coming on and on steel death from my own country; and 
my whole being overflowed with a bitterness like gall. I saw the foe fall 
upon the headquarters near the river Tang, and I saw the fire of defiance 
blaze from every window and every ditch and far and wide over the 
wheat-fields ; I heard the firing die slowly away, and I saw Chung Yi run 
into the wheat-fields and turn his pistol against his own heart. The vision 
seemed like a vision of all China, of the whole world, and my mind 
became a pool of despair. I despised myself for not having returned to the 
1 73rd Division to be slain with my friend by the weapons from my own 

Weeks passed. One day two letters came from the central China front. 
One was an official-looking document written in the bold hand of General 
Moh Hsu-chi, Commander-in-Chief of the Eighty-fourth (of which the 
1 73rd Division had been a part). The commander informed me in detail 
of how Chung Yi had "gloriously sacrificed" himself. The other was 
from the remnants of the I73rd Division, which was being again re- 
plenished and trained. The division asked me to contribute my memories 
of Chung Yi for a new book to be published by the Kwangsi Army. A 
hundred times I tried to write, but for many months I could not bear 
even to recall those terrible events. 

In the autumn of that year I found myself in Chung Yi's native 
Kwangsi Province. I met and talked with his brother, and then I w$nt 
out to the hills beyond Kweilin and stood alone by his tomb. It seemed 
utterly unreal. Only my memories were real my memories and the jade 
ring on my finger, and his face across the great plains of China. 


His face across the plains of China . . . and in the shadows behind it 
soldiers crouching and running, marching and singing . . . men in a 
candle-lit room chatting gravely and gaily. . . . And Chung Yi's voice 
murmuring across a great distance: "We have our faith tell your 


\/\ HEN I ARRIVED in the Hupeh field headquarters of the 22nd Group 
Army a Szechuen Army in late December, the Chinese winter ' 
offensive was already in full swing. The Fifth and Ninth War Zones had 
received orders from Generalissimo Chiang to open their offensives 
simultaneously. For months thereafter we lived under the .ceaseless roar 
of artillery and the zooming of planes. The very e,arth trembled. 

The Chinese left-wing armies in north Hupeh were commanded by 
the famous northern general Sun Lien-chung, and the right wing by 
another noted northerner, General Chang Tze-chung. General Sun's 
field headquarters were in the Tungpeh mountain range near the main 
Japanese position at Sinyang. He had demolition units along the 
Peiping-Hankow railway, and one of his divisions was trying to clean 
the Japanese out of their northernmost position, Chang-taikwan (not far 
from Dr. Skinsncss's hospital in Kioshan). We had received news that 
the Japanese in that sector had already begun to use poison gas. The 
22nd Group Army did not possess steel helmets, not to speak of gas-masks. 

The Szechuen Army in our sector was attacking the outer defence 
lines of the ihighty semi-circle of Japanese troops protecting Hankow. 
The main Japanese position w$s at Shuihsien, from which city they had 
thrust out tentacles in all directions and had, in particular, fortified six 
strategic mountain tops directly in front of us. The Szechuen Army had 
driven long wedges between these enemy bases in an attempt to isolate, 
surround, and destroy them. 

The Chinese hoped to destroy the enemy's ring of outer defences. They 
also dreamed of taking Hankow, but they all knew that with their equip- 
ment they could hardly do more than weaken the Japanese. They knew 
that if they captured an enemy position, they could not hold it without 
air power; and there was not one Chinese plane at the front. Japanese 
reconnoitring planes and bombers came over, selected their targets at 
leisure, and dumped their loads. On the six fortified mountain positions 
in our sector alone, the Japanese had thirty-eight short-range field-pieces. 
The 22nd Group Army had just received two field-guns from Chungking, 
but shells for them had to be transpbrted by men or mules and the 
distance from Fancheng, on the Han River, was ten days to two weeks by 
human or animal transport. 

As we rode down from the city of Tsaoyang, an Army adjutant kept 

chattering like a shallow brook. "The Soviet military adviser attached to 

K2 297 

our Army is a strange man !" he declared brightly. "He's a humanitarian. 
He will not ride in a sedan chair, and he walks his horse up a hill. After 
every thirty li [about ten miles] he walks in order to give his horse a rest i 
If it rains, he helps the soldiers build defences, even though the mud 
pours into his boots. . . . The Eighth Route Army is made up<of 
Communists. They represent imperialism, and they only fight the 
Japanese because the Government pays them clothes and money. . . ." 

"Where did you get such ideas?" I interrupted. 

"From the Political Director," he answered. 

I tried to explain to him what nonsense he had been taught. 

The Szechuen armies had the reputation of being the most feudal 
and backward in China, and the conduct of most of them justified it. 
But the 22nd Group Army had become a strange mixture of old and new 
attitudes. The Commander, General Sun Chen, with whom I had spent 
considerable time in Tsaoyang, was a scholarly man who seemed to be 
saddened and oppressed by the reputation and condition of his army. 
On the whole, his troops were illiterate. They came from the poverty- 
stricken farms of Szechuen, where they, their fathers, and their fathers' 
fathers had been looted by feudal generals and politician-landlords. 
Since the war they had become imbued with national consciousness, and 
I saw them fight proudly and bravely, giving their lives for a country 
that had given them nothing. It is not easy to be proud and brave in 

Along the highway leading from Tsaoyang long lines of lumbering 
ox-carts, wheelbarrows, human carriers, and an occasional pack-horse 
or mule moved towards the front, loaded with military supplies and with 
huge piles of new padded winter uniforms. 

As we rode towards the battlefield, I wondered if any spot on earth 
could be more dreary and depressing. It was winter, and the half-frozen 
plains were grey and dour. In the distance rose the blue Tungpeh 
Mountains, which the peasants, in their poverty, kept stripped of trees. 
Right under our eyes the less severely wounded and the sick stumbled 
along the highway. In the convoys of stretchers some of the wounded lay 
in their summer uniforms, shivering in the cold ; in some instances the 
bearers had taken off their own padded coats and covered the wounded. 
Unlike the soldiers, the bearers had undershirts. 

In the villages where the bearers halted to rest and give their charges 
a drink, the civilians charged a copper for boiled water. It was not heart- 
lessness ; firewood cost money a great deal of money and the people 
were desperately poor. Compassion? In China any man who gives to 
another must give from his own skin. 

The carts in the van of each convoy were filled with wan-faced 
wounded men trying to withstand the jolting; in the rear came the carts 
piled with the corpses of those who had died on the way. The shoes had 
been taken from their feet, for the living need shoes, while the dead do 

. not. The feet of the dead were the coarse, calloused feet of poor peasants. 
Streaks of blood had dried on them, and some were mangled. Somehow 
these feet affected me deeply, for they told tales of a lifetime of bitter toil 
and sorrow. 

Once as we drew abreast of one of these ox-cart convoys, a white- 
faced soldier with a bandaged arm appealed to us, crying: "If I ride 
farther, I shall die! I cannot endure it any longer!'* 

There were no splints at the front, and the man's arm had merely been 
set in a sling. I helped him on my horse and led him to a dressing-station 
a mile and a half off the highway. There, to our amazement, a qualified 
doctor in a white apron came out and took charge in a gentle but efficient 
manner. The doctor had one qualified assistant, also in a white apron, 
and a group of fifteen soldier dressers. Tenderly and patiently these 
men led the wounded into clean, well-organized village rooms, changed 
their dressings with the utmost care, and gave them a meal, which even 
included some pork. Nowhere else had I seen a white apron ; and even 
here there were no sheets, pillows, soap, or toilet paper, and the splints 
were made out of boards from discarded boxes. 

As I helped with the wounded, I thought of the qualified Chinese 
doctors in Shanghai and Hong Kong who continued their private 
practices, at best giving a monthly sum to the Chinese Red Cross, Only 
two hundred of them had joined the Red Cross Medical Corps and a few 
hundred others the Public Health Administration. Sometimes I despised 
not only these doctors, but the Government, which still refused to con- 
script them. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had been quoted as saying : 
"The doctors have let me down !" The doctors had let down more than 
Chiang Kai-shek they had let down an entire land. 

The armies were not to blame for the lack of medical staffs. They had 
scoured the earth for qualified doctors, and had even advertised in 
Chinese newspapers at the port cities. Despite this I had read one letter 
in which a doctor in the Chinese Air Force wrote a fellow physician 
urging him to come to the rear and get a job in the Chinese Air Force, 
because a flier was "of more value than ten thousand common soldiers", 
and because, incidentally, salaries in the Air Force were very good, the 
work was light, and there was plenty of time to read ! 

One morning at dawn I stood by the roadside and watched thousands 
of grey-clad soldiers and laden pack-animals moving up to the battlefield 
to relieve men who had been fighting for two days and two nights without 
rest. They were solemn-eyed men marching in grim silence, trying to get 
out of the broad valley before the enemy planes came over. Their inarch- 
ing feet threw up a dense cloud of dust, and through this swirling dust 
came the first stretcher-bearers bringing in those who had been wounded 
in the night's fighting. The bearers panted as they moved forward in 
their slow trot. The wounded lay with their faces turned to the grey, 
wintry skies. A few were covered with captured Japanese blankets or 


overcoats, and here and there a captured Japanese flag fluttered from a 
stretcher. Some lay peacefully, still under the influence of morphine 
tablets given them by regimental dressers on the battlefield. Like the 
Spartans, they were being brought in on their shields. 

At such a moment I felt nothing less than love for Surgeon-General 
Loo Chih-teh and Dr. Robert Lim, for it was they who had prepared the 
tons of compressed, sterilized dressings, each with a morphine tablet in it. 
This development in the Army Medical Service had taken place in the 
last year, and was the greatest single factor combating infection and 
death from shock. Despite all they had seen, neither Dr. Loo nor Dr. 
Lim had ever shown signs of growing callous ; their hearts remained 
filled with as much compassion as ever. Repeatedly I heard that Surgeon- 
General Loo had camped in a field at night in order to descend upon 
some military hospital for an early morning inspection. In Laohokuo, 
when I had been surprised to find a base hospital where the brightest 
rooms were given not to the staff but to the wounded, the Medical 
Director of the zone had said: "Yes, Dr. Loo told us to give the best 
rooms to the wounded. The staff was given what was left." 

With these memories in the back of my mind, I followed a convoy of 
stretchers from the battlefield to a dressing-station. My secretary and I 
helped the soldier nurses lift the wounded to their feet or carry the severe 
cases to the long straw pallets on the earthen floor inside the building. 
Other wounded had lain on the straw on previous days, and it >vas dirty 
with blood and mucus. We would shake it up or carry in new loads from, 
the stacks outside. 

I watched one soldier dresser tearing an old dressing off the hand of an 
unconscious man. The hand had been almost severed, and the man was 
bleeding to death. I called the superintendent, a fairly well-qualified 
doctor, but he himself was suffering from hernia. After examining the 
hand, he took from his kit an ordinary sewing-needle and some silk 
thread, gathered up the few forceps, shears, and knives, and placed them 
in a wash-basin to boil. There were no sheets, towels, soap, hypodermic 
syringes or needles, and the "operating-table 15 was nothing but a straw 
pallet. The superintendent amputated the hand. I was his assistant. 

Later I went about talking to the men. When I remarked how few 
were severely wounded, one soldier cried out : "The others couldn't get 
away! Some of us got out only because we could crawl. It took me eight 
hours to find the stretcher-bearers !" 

Then one man's face attracted my attention. He sat in silence, his 
back propped against the wall, his head wrapped in ^ broad white 
bandage, his face exceedingly pale. 

"Tell me how you were wounded," I said as gently as I could. 

He seemed to be looking at me, but he did not answer. "He was a 
machine-gunner/' someone said. Then the man himself tried to answer. 
He opened his mouth, but the words would not come. Finally with 

infinite difficulty he managed to say: "It is such a little thing it is for 
my country." 

As he spoke, his voice grew faint and his head sank on to his breast. 
Quickly a dresser and I stepped over to him and started to lift him so 
that he might lie fiat on the straw. Even as we lifted him I knew that he 
was dead. 

Of the 2,600 wounded men who left the north Hupeh battlefield during 
the first three weeks of the winter offensive only i,qoo lived to reach the 
first field hospital at Fancheng, two weeks to the rear. 

Sometimes I wrote my diary notes while jogging along on horseback. 
Then they looked like chicken scratches or as though I had been suffering 
from spasms : 

December some time or other. Have lost track of time. Fighting dead- 
locked with heavy losses both sides. Ice on streams and hoar-frost 
turning dry grass white and brittle. Soldiers drill, practise old Chinese 
boxing and sing national songs. They salute as I pass, and their 
black, gra^e eyes make me think : "We who are about to die salute you, 
foreign woman, riding on a horse !" Thuds of bursting shells. Ghastly, 
droning enemy planes selecting targets before bombing. Planes like 
lazy sensuous animals of prey with victim which cannot protect 
itself. . . . 

Am leaving Lishan market town on border battlefield. Today no 
sound of fighting shakes hillsides. Only bloody trails along paths. 

Peasants plough dry, cheerless fields and grind corn. Some isolated 
mud farmhouses not destroyed; some big landlord mansions with 
watch-towers undamaged. Countryside strewn with military telephone 
wires stretched through trees on crooked improvised poles. Sentries 
challenge us from tvery hill. On one hillside a little boy cuts twigs with 
long curved knife; sometimes stops and sings shrill anti-Japanese song. 

Szechuen Army very backward socially, but are filled with national, 
racial consciousness. Though no People's Work, still civilians transport 
wounded without conscription; trust Army and remain right near 
battlefield. They improvise stretchers by taking wooden doors off 
wooden hinges or turning bamboo cots upside down, string ropes 
beneath, and swing wounded along. Perspiration pours from them, 
and they run in slow dog-trot with eyes on earth. 

Have sent off report to Red Cross. 


1 22nd and I23rd Divisions of the Szechuen Army on the Lishan front, had 
established temporary headquarters in an old temple on a high hill 


furrowed with trenches and dugouts. From there he could overlook the 
Lishan Valley and watch enemy positions beyond. With their strong 
field-glasses the Japanese could also watch the whole valley and see every 
Chinese move. Their planes droned over the battlefield, and if they saw 
horsemen, they swooped down and machine-gunned them, knowing 
them to be officers. Headquarters had to be moved every few days to 
avoid discovery. * 

General Wang had formerly been a commander of the northern army 
of the Christian General Feng Yu-hsiang. He was a big, fat, hale and 
hearty man with a voice so tremendous that when he talked over the 
telephone, the man on the other end could never understand. His chief 
of staff usually took the phone and repeated the orders in a normal 

General Wang seemed a total stranger to cunning or dissimulation. 
He said what he thought and no man could ever answer: "I'm sorry, 
I did not hear" ! He belonged to the battlefield, and I could imagine him 
speaking to a whole division literally without a man missing a word. 

The fighting was not yet serious, he boomed at me, but the losses had 
been heavy enough for both sides to pause to reinforce. The Japanese 
were rushing troops from Hankow, but the General had sent men to 
destroy their communications. He himself had been waiting for two new 
artillery pieces ; they had just arrived, and on the following day would be 
in position. They had a longer range than the Japanese, and he was going 
to blast the daylight out of the enemy's three nearest mountain positions. 
If I wanted, I could ride up with him next day and watch the first 

As he led me up and round the network of trenches protecting his 
mountain eyrie, he roared the glad news that he was a Christian and had 
been baptized in Peking years ago by an American missionary whose 
picture he still carried in a hymn-book. 

I asked him why he became a Christian. "Well, it's something I can't 
explain -just a feeling," he said. "And I like to sing. I used to be in a 
choir. It's wonderful, singing nothing like it." 

General Wang and his chief of staff decided to celebrate my arrival 
with a dinner in the peasant home where I was to stay. They bought a 
chicken and some turnips and told the peasants they would pay to have 
it prepared. The peasants refused to accept any money. They adored 
General Wang, and stood round talking with him as to a friend. That 
night four of us sat round a rough, square table with a peanut-oil lamp 
between us and talked about the war and the world. 

The General always carried his big black Chinese hymn-book with 
him, and when he felt in need of a little spiritual comfort he sang. Once 
the dinner was finished, the General laid the book on the rough table, 
smoothed the soft rice-paper lovingly with his big hand, and heaved a 
deep sigh. 

"Ah ! I remember singing this hymn with Feng Yu-hsiang !" he said. 
"Those were beautiful days. We used to sing and sing !" 

He was a humble, unpretentious soul, and the moment I asked him to 
sing he opened his mouth and let his deep but tender voice fill the peasant 
hut like a mighty pipe-organ. I recalled the Tuskegee Negro singers and 
the voice of Paul Robeson. When the General ended the hymn with 
"Allelujah ! Allelujah ! Allelujah !" the very rafters trembled ! 

Caressingly he thumbed the worn pages, found another song, and 
without any urging sang once more. He sang and sang, and when at last 
I heard the mighty line: "Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God Almighty!" 
I could remain seated no longer. I walked to the door and stared into 
the night. The very earth seemed to be singing. Outside the two armed 
sentries set to guard my house had been walking back and forth across 
the hard-packed threshing-floor, but now they stood perfectly still. The 
wintry wind lifted the edges of their long coats, and the light of the half- 
moon glinted on their fixed bayonets and on the still pond beyond. The 
wind rustled a few dried leaves and pods clinging to the long branch of a 
tree, and the moonlight through the branches turned the threshing-floor 
into a delicate wavering network. In the sombre shadows at the foot of 
the tree I could see a small shrine to the Earth God. 

The voice stopped suddenly. We listened intently. From the south 
came the roar of artillery. 

General Wang spoke abruptly. "It's from Maping," he said to his 
chief of staff. "I'd better go. You stay." 

He closed the hymn-book and went without another word. For a 
long time we sat listening: to that distant roar coming from the 

In the afternoon of the next day we rode up over a high level plateau 
criss-crossed by carefully camouflaged trenches. On every hillock was 
perched a wigwam-like look-out post. 

From the plateau we could look across at the enemy positions. Directly 
at the foot of the eastern cliffs of the plateau ran the Yung River, along 
which our troops were stationed. Seven miles to the east towered the 
peak of Kuenshan, and on its summit was a Buddhist monastery which 
had been heavily garrisoned by the Japanese. Through field-glasses we 
could see a long encompassing wall half-way down the mountain-side, 
and another nearer the buildings themselves. To the south-east lay 
Juikuotan, and in between that and the mountain lay Changchiakan. 

That day I would have given my right arm for the privilege of handling 
a big gun. But there were so many Chinese who shared the same desire 
that I didn't have a ghost of a chance. 

We dismounted at the sprawling farmhouse which had been selected 
as temporary field-artillery headquarters. The farmhouse was sheltered 
by trees, and near by was a scraggly pine grove; as usual, in a small 


shrine at the base of a spreading oak the Earth God and his wife sat in 
stoic dignity. 

A wedding was being celebrated in the house and, to my disgust, the 
bridegroom and the bride turned out to be fourteen and sixteen respec- 
tively. The women ate in one room, and the men, including the boy 
groom, in another. Some of the men had stuffed themselves unconscious 
and lay in a haystack sound asleep. Before we left that night they had 
come to life long enough to go in and eat again. 

General Wang and I went in to admire the alleged beauty of the bride-. 
Gaudily dressed and painted, she knelt in front of us and offered us cakes 
and tea ; we ate and placed a wedding present a small sum of money 
on the tray. I asked the women how the Japanese had acted when they 
had held these heights three months before. They told me that the enemy 
had found porcelain teapots and rice-bowls in the Chinese trenches and 
had realized that the peasants had fed their own soldiers. So they had 
slit the throats of the two old women and the one old man who had 
remained behind to guard the farmhouse. 

One room of the house had been turned over to General Wang, and he 
began roaring into a telephone connected with the artillery, positions. 
The chief of staff waited patiently for the General to finish, took the 
telephone, and repeated the orders in a normal voice. 

"Well, we may as well eat!" exclaimed the General, and the cook 
brought out some food and spread it on a board in the courtyard. 
General Wang lowered his huge bulk on to a low three-legged chair used 
by children and began muttering over a map. We had just started eating 
when the first shell shook the courtyard from end to end. I stood up, my 
rice-bowl poised in mid-air, and listened to the shells tearing through the 
heavens. "This is the first Chinese offensive since the war began," I 
thought, "and here we sit eating rice !" 

We went along a gully so that enemy field-glasses could not spot us, 
and moved slowly into a pine grove. General Wang possessed the only 
pair of field-glasses among the lot of us, and after each shot he would 
train them on Kuenshan to the east and then pass them round. We would 
watch the enemy position, and after what seemed like a long time a 
fountain of smoke and debris would spout from the landscape. A 
moment later "the sound of the bursting shell would come back to us. 

A field-telephone hung from a tree in the grove, and from time to 
time General Wang would pick it up, start to bawl orders to the gun 
captain, and then, with a tremendous effort, lower his voice. When he 
hung up he would mutter contemptuously about telephones that had to 
be handled like babies. Once he thrust his field-glasses into my hands 
just as a shell crackled across the sky. I watched and watched, and finally 
saw a column of smoke and debris rise right out of the heart of a 
Japanese defence position on Kuenshan. I shouted, and everyone else 
joined in, and someone ripped the glasses from me. General Wang picked 

up the telephone and bellowed as quietly as he could : "You've got it ! 
Now get to work I" 

At exactly half-past four the valley and the hills beyond were split 
open by sound. We heard the hollow booming of trench mortars, 
punctuated by machine-gun bursts and accompanied in a kind of counter- 
point by the crackling of rifles. Night fell swiftly here, and the small 
flame that spurted up as each shell was fired betrayed the gun positions, 
and the artillery captain asked permission to stop firing. General Wang 
agreed, and added that the guns must be moved to new stations, for in 
the morning the enemy's planes would certainly come over to bomb 

Later we rode down the Lishan Valley. When the clouds parted we 
saw a small Cajholic church on our right. It was totally gutted and 
without windows or doors. Only the walls and roof remained standing. 
General Wang asked us to wait while he went in to pray. Someone 
remarked: "That is a Catholic church, you are a Protestant," but he 
answered : "It's all the same in the eyes of God !" We remained seated on 
our horses outside, and from the hollow shell of the church we heard his 
voice roaring to God, pleading for guidance, for the protection of his 
men, for victory over the enemy. 

With the dawn the wounded began to come in, and at the same time 
the fighting rose in crescendo. The walls of our building trembled, but 
we listened proudly to our two guns holding their own against the thirty- 
eight enemy pieces. Airplanes began to drone above, reconnoitring, 
seeking targets. 

I took my medical kit and hurried to the nearest dressing-station. As I 
approached, I saw two teams of slow-moving oxen dragging a captured 
Japanese field-gun along the highway. Green branches camouflaged the 
gun, and out of their foliage stuck the laughing face of a soldier who was 
sitting astride the barrel. The civilians and soldiers who had dragged 
the field-piece down the mountain-side milled proudly round it, and 
many of them strutted about with shells on their shoulders. Just as I was 
photographing this apparition, I heard a roar, and up came General 
Wang. He examined the gun and declared it a fine piece of workman- 
ship, a 9'3-cm. gun with a Tokyo number-plate, made in 1940. 

Kuenshan had been surrounded and ten Manchurian Chinese puppet 
soldiers had been captured on its slopes. A number of enemy points had 
changed hands. Some had been captured, their garrisons exterminated, 
and their defences demolished. One battalion, however, led by a young 
officer, Loh Huh-ping, seemed to have disappeared. When last seen they 
had been attacking an enemy position in Miaoerpu in the rear. In the 
late K afternoon a unit found Battalion Commander Loh and his one 
hundred remaining men holding the fort. They had captured another 
field-gun and were using it against the enemy. 

Juikuotan had been taken. Forty members of the secret peasant "Big 


Sword" society, the Hwang Shih Hwei, had led the Chinese troops along 
the narfow paths leading to the town. They carried long spears and huge 
native-made iron shears, with which they cut the enemy's barbed wire. 
Once, while they were cutting the wires, a Japanese officer came to the 
door of a near-by house; one of the peasants rushed the building, and 
other soldiers hurled hand-grenades into it. The Japanese soldiers fled 
into an underground tunnel and pulled close a steel door which could 
only be opened from below. The tunnel had an outlet farther along the 
hill, and the Chinese caught the Japanese pouring out of it, throwing off 
their overcoats as they fled. 

In Juikuotan the Chinese had found two American trucks, one of them 
loaded with shells. They unloaded the shells, destroyed the trucks, and 
sent soldiers and peasants down the mountain-side with the shells and a 
field-gun. Sometimes the men had literally carried the field-gun over 
destroyed roads. Japanese banners, work tools, automobile spare parts, 
rifles, pistols, and ammunition began to pour into headquarters, and 
hundreds of men got blankets and overcoats. 

Wounded members of the peasant secret society lay on stretchers with 
their long spears at their sides and the magic yellow sash of their society 
soaked with blood. 

"Someone said that if you wore this sash you could not be wounded 
and would have no fear," I said to them. "Do you believe that?" 

"If we had fear, we would not be fighting !" one answered; and I was 

I rode swiftly along the outer Chinese defences on the battlefield that 
stretched from Lishan eastward. We had been warned by General 
Wang to reach the headquarters of the 1 24th Division before nightfall, 
because news had come that the Japanese were concentrating heavy 
forces round the mountain fortification of Kuenshan. 

After passing through the foul streets of half-destroyed Lishan, we 
came upon hundreds of civilians with picks and shovels; they were 
returning from the battlefield, where they had been digging defences. 
Ragged beggars suffering from trachoma stood along the roads and 
wailed, but we gave them nothing. They were lost souls. Near a small 
town two hours out of Lishan we passed a company of exhausted, sleeping 
soldiers who lay strewn about like leaves. 

We rode rapidly, our horses' hoofs kicking up billows of dust. From 
Kuenshan ahead came the ceaseless roar of guns. At the western base of 
the mountain the forests had caught fire and a pall of smoke shrouded 
the slopes. Reconnoitring enemy planes circled like birds of prey over 
the hills and plains, and now and then a squadron of bombers came up 
out of the south, split into groups of three, selected targets, and opened 
their bomb-racks. 

Later while moving through a narrow valley we came upon a mud hut 

which a regiment of the i24th Division was using as a first dressing- 
station off the battlefield. There was but one entrance, and the door was 
missing. Inside, in murky darkness, lay a row of woundejl men on a straw 
pallet along the earthen floor. On a crude table near the door stood half 
a dozen half-filled bottles, a pair of black native scissors, a few com* 
pressed bandages, and some small squares of gauze. From the dusty 
rafters dangled a big open wad of native cotton. These were the medical 
supplies in this station. 

I looked down at the dim faces of the wounded, and their sad eyes 
gazed up at me. One man asked for water. A dresser brought some in a 
rice-bowl and placed it near the man's head, but did not offer to help 
him cfrink. I choked off an angry exclamation, knelt by the man, and 
helped him drink. 

All the men watched me in silence, and when I rose I saw that the five 
dressers in the room not one of them was more than seventeen or 
eighteen were standing with lowered heads as if they had been repri- , 
manded. Pity smothered my anger. They were peasant boys from the 
Army, and in China the poor take care of themselves. Perhaps not one 
could read or write. All the graces of human culture that^spring^ from 
comfort and sufficiency were strangcrsjojhcm. 

The tramp of mafcRijSgTce t from beyond the hut caught my attention. 
Past the doorway marched a line of grey figures with rifles and packs. 
I went out and watched them come to a halt, remove their packs, and 
sit down with their rifles propped between their knees. Two of them went 
away, and after a time returned with a big wooden bucket filled with 
boiled water, and soon all the men had drunk their fill. 

This was a company moving up to the battlefield, and here was their 
last stop for rest. There was a moon, and they would fight all night. 
Their commander came towards me and saluted, and after we had talked 
he said: "Will you say something to my men? We have half an hour 

Because I was depressed I answered that this would be difficult at such 
a moment. He answered that it would encourage them; so I went with 
him, and at a command the soldiers rose and stood at attention. The 
commander shouted: "Salute!" and the men saluted. I returned the 
salute with better reason than they had given it. 

What does one say to men going out to die? I looked at those grey and 
solemn faces, and I tried to think of those of my own people and of the 
common people of Europe who sympathized in their spare moments 
with China, So I began to tell the soldiers about those people who gave, 
I said, a part of their wages to help China. I hesitated, for I had not seen 
one ounce of foreign medicine at the Chinese fronts, but all of us there 
had seen many bombs, trucks, and other supplies from America. 

"We have not done enough, but we have tried to do something," I 
finished, "I give you my pledge to tell the people of other countries what 
- . 307 

I have seen. I shall try to describe how you fight and the spirit that moves 
you to continue until China is free.** 

The men saluted, sat down, and remained silent for a time. Then a 
murmur came from them. I spoke to the commander, and he said to 
them : "She wants to know what you are saying.*' 

One soldier summoned up the courage to rise. Standing stiffly at 
attention, as if reporting to an officer, he said : "We should like to know 
why your country sells arms and ammunition to the enemy to kill us 
with. We have done you no harm !" 

There it was again, that spectre of my country's betrayal of China. 
These soldiers were not content with "morale" lectures. They were as 
realistic as the earth they trod. I answered as I had answered so often 
before that in all capitalist countries there were traitors to humanity 
who coined money out of death. But I added that there were also 
millions of common men like themselves who hated this policy, and these 
millions were bound in solidarity with the soldiers of China. I said this 
mechanically a lesson learned by rote. 

The soldiers were not satisfied. The same man asked : "What are these 
friends of ours doing against the rich traitors?" 

I told them, describing organizations and individuals and the work 
they were doing. I mentioned President Roosevelt's call for medical 
supplies to aid China, and the same call by the Lord Mayor of London 
but I did not add how inadequate the response had been. 

One of the soldiers jumped to his feet and shouted : "Long live Roose- 
velt ! Long live the Mayor of London ! " 

The whole company repeated these vivas after him and then echoed 
slogans in praise of the people's organizations I had mentioned. The 
commander smiled proudly and saluted me ; he then shouted to the men 
and they also saluted. At last they shouldered their packs and rifles and 
began to move up the mountain. 


ASITHUMB through the soft, cheap pages of my diary notes, the per- 
sonalities of two or three of the men whom I met at this time keep thrust- 
ing themselves into the foreground. First there is the strange figure of 
General Chang Tze-chung, whose conscience hounded him across every 
battlefield of China. Another is the clear, chaste outline of his chief of 
staff, Chang Keh-hsia, younger than General Chang, brilliant, without 
illusions, his eyes fixed on the future. A third is General Wang Tsan-hsii, 
a fantastic fellow characterized by an unpleasant boastfulness that 
reminded me of certain Americans. 

I reached the field headquarters of General Chang Tze-chung in 
Changjiaji, a town in the Ta Hung mountain range of central China, on 

January g. General Chang commanded the right-wing Chinese forces in 
the winter offensive ; he also commanded his own northern 33rd Group 
Army, containing the brigade led by the heroic Fang Chih-an that 
had first challenged the Japanese at Marco Polo Bridge and begun the 
Sino-Japanese War. The remnants of that brigade still constituted the 
core of the Seventy-seventh Army of the 33rd Group Army. 
, As my small party rounded the village houses, I saw a bareheaded, 
strongly built man at least six feet tall and wearing the blue cotton uni- 
form of a common soldier. He held a paper-bound book in his hand, the 
pages folded back as if he had been reading. 

General Chang led me into his headquarters and sat across the table 
from me, talking about the central front which he commanded. Through 
the open doors to the south we could see the great heights of a mountain 
range from which came the incessant roar of artillery and the drone of 
planes. As I sat there, I thought of the officer who had kept assuring me 
that this General Chang was a patriot, a brave man, a student almost 
as if he were defending him. It was then that I had recalled that General 
Chang had once been called a traitor. Before the war he had held high 
positions in north China and had associated with the Japanese. On one 
occasion he had been a member of a delegation to Japan. When the war 
had begun at Marco Polo Bridge, he had been Mayor of Peiping, and 
while the agth Route Army of General Sun Cheh-yuan was fighting for 
the city he had surrendered it to the Japanese, transferring^authority, he 
said, to save it from destruction. Han chien, traitor, the people called him. 

But could an individual be responsible for the policy of a government? 
For six long years the Chinese Government had settled each act of 
Japanese aggression as a "local incident", submitting or compromising at 
every step. All of Hopei Province had already been almost entirely 
demilitarized in the face of Japanese threats, and General Chang, like 
everyone in the north, including the 2gth Route Army, of which he was 
a part, had become accustomed to being treated as a buffer between 
China and Japan. 

JFor three whole weeks, while the 2gth Route Army fought, General 
Chang was reported to be in Peiping, and he was reviled by all Chinese. 
Actually, during the last few days of that period he lay in the German 
hospital inside th^ Legation quarter. But one day a foreign motor-car 
drove out of Peiping, and two Chinese chauffeurs, instead of one, sat in 
the front seats. One of them was General Chang. In the German 
hospital the man who was supposed to be the General threw back the 
covers, stepped out of bed and walked out of the building ! 

When the Japanese next heard of General Chang Tze-chung he was 
Commander of the Fifty-ninth Army of the 2gth Route Army and was 
fighting with them in every section of northern China. He led them 
through fierce fighting in Northern Shantung, withdrawing only to fight 
again and again to become, in fact, one of the main factors in the great 

victory of Taierchwang. His army retired to the west after the fall of 
Hsuchow, still fighting every step of the way. Generalissimo Chiang had 
appointed him right-wing commander of the central China front for the 
offensive of 1939-40. 

General Chang had thus proved himself on a hundred battlefields, but 
the condemnation that had once been heaped upon him still haunted 
him fiercely. Two Chinese newspaper men were with me when I first 
talked with him. He talked so cautiously and watched them so suspici- 
ously that I later remarked to his chief of staff, Chang Keh-hsia, that I 
could neither understand nor trust such a man. The chief of staff said : 
"You are wrong. The past still haunts him. In our literature we have an 
elegy about a general who once said that until he had achieved his aim, 
his life was no more than dust and sand. . . ." 

It was not easy to be Chang Tze-chung. He had lived through forty- 
six years of confusion and turmoil, and the shadows of his past, stories 
of "opium" and "concubines", still trailed him. But in his headquarters 
I saw no signs of that past. Everywhere there were piles of books on 
military and political subjects, and in his few leisure moments in head- 
quarters he discussed his reading or his reflections with his young officers, 
and in particular with his chief of staff. For the two days and nights 
before I arrived he had been up on the battlefield, inspecting defences. 
Men said he courted death, trying to still his conscience. 

Sometimes his humanity broke through his wooden reserve, but 
generally it hid in fear. With me he talked only of the war. The heavy 
bombardment, he told us, came from six Japanese field-pieces on two 
mountains twenty miles to the south. The enemy had discovered a 
cavalry regiment which had been dispatched to destroy their rear com- 
munications. But the regiment had returned to its base and reported its 
mission completed. The General pointed out that the enemy had spent 
hundreds of shells on that one regiment, but had killed only sixty men; 
Japanese marksmanship seemed to be becoming poorer and poorer. 

These troops, however, had difficulty in getting shells, mules and men 
being their only means of transport. And the 33rd Group Army alone 
had suffered four thousand casualties within three weeks. The wounded 
trickled to the rear over many routes, generally slipping through the 
Japanese lines at night. Despite all this, the General declared that the 
spirit of his troops was very high. "They are proud to be on the offensive," 
he said. "We hope to smash the enemy's outer defences around Hankow 
and tatfe back their chief fortified city, Chunghsiang." 

But no one could say whether the whole offensive would succeed. The 
enemy had been in their positions for months and had constructed strong 
defences; they had the support of planes; and they could bring up 
reinforcements and supplies on trucks from Hankow and swiftly shift 
men from one interior position to another. 

I learned, too, that one-tenth of the enemy forces were Manchurian 

Chinese puppets. Since the Japanese usually were afraid to use puppets 
at the front and reserved them for garrison duty only, I became curious 
about this. Unthinkingly I asked General Chang what he considered to 
be the chief reason for so many puppets in China. "Ignorance," he 
answered, but no sooner was the reply out of his mouth than his body 
stiffened, his face froze, and his stare fixed itself on me. With difficulty I 
suppressed an impulse to cry out that I hadn't meant that at all ! 

The man whom I came to know the best of all those whom I met on 
the central China front was General Chang's chief of staff, Chang Keh- 
hsia. He was the brother-in-law of the Christian General Feng Yu- 
hsiang, and had once studied military science in Moscow. Before the 
winter offensive he had been the head of the training camp of the 33rd 
Group Army during one of its periods of reorganization. 

Chang Keh-hsia's face was thin and keen, and his blue, shabby soldier's 
uniform hung loosely from his shoulders. Sometimes I met him at head- 
quarters, sometimes in the house where I was billeted, and once we sat 
under a tree and talked while an air-raid took place a short distance 
away. With him, too, I spoke only of the war and the problems of the 

When we talked about the Japanese as soldiers he said : 

"Don't let anyone tell you that the Japanese still fight merely by book- 
rules. They have practised on us for nearly three years and have learned 
much. They can make every kind of assault frontal, flank, or even 
guerrilla. What is far worse, they have studied our military, political, 
and social weaknesses and use them against us." 

He went on to point out that most Japanese soldiers were literate and 
had some education, and that their conscription system was better than 
that of the Chinese and their physical and cultural standards higher. 
The Chinese, he admitted, really had no conscription standards at all ; 
even young boys were taken, and new conscripts were sometimes led 
away tied with ropes. The political training which such soldiers needed 
was non-existent. This weakness, he said, was true of all the Chinese 
armies except the Eighth Route and the New Fourth. When he implied, 
however, that the Political Directors of the latter armies did not, unfortu- 
nately, permit their soldiers to come in contact with other Chinese 
armies, I said that I had found that it was the other way round. He 
replied that it perhaps worked both ways, and that it was, in any event, 
not a good thing for the country. "However, we Chinese have improved 
in many ways since the war began," he continued. "One army no longer 
tries to save itself at the expense of another. What we must realize is 
that we can win only by a combination of all our military strength with 
continual political and economic progress." 

Also under the command of General Chang Tze-chung, but interesting 


in a very different way, was General Wang Tsan-hsu, leader of the 2gth 
Group Army, a Szechuen force. General Wang was one commander in 
whose presence I felt no sense of fellow-suffering and for whom I was 
unable to develop any respect. 

Along with the two Chinese newspaper men I walked out to the village 
where General Wang had his headquarters and listened to him boast. 
He was a thin, hard-faced man who loved to be interviewed and have his 
picture taken in many poses. As soon as we wore seated, he threw him- 
self back in his chair and nonchalantly announced that the situation at 
the front would not have become so serious had he not been detained in 
Szechuen. He now had the job of taking back all that the Japanese had 
won. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, he modestly informed us, had 
agreed to fill his place as Governor of Szechuen while he cleaned up the 
front! He implied that he had thereby greatly honoured the Generalis- 
simo, but I wondered if he himself had not been merely manoeuvred out 
of the way. Such men were notorious in China. 

^ General Wang discussed military problems intelligently, but his best 
explanation of the puppet traitor was : "There are so many of them 
because they have not studied the Confucian classics. Each military man 
must become a scholar." 

A strange expression appeared on the face of the reporter by my side. 
He kept silent, but I just waded right into General Wang's theory, re- 
marking that most of the leading Chinese traitors were Confucian scholars* 
He looked at me with pity and remarked that such traitors had only 
"studied superficially". I decided not to remind him that General 
Chang Tze-chung had once studied the classics, but now read only modern 
military and political books, whereas General Wang did not have one 
book in his headquarters not even the classics. 

Apparently to demonstrate his theory of superiority, he told us that his 
army had just captured six Japanese. Unfortunately for him, we had 
seen these captives, and knew that his army had nothing to do with their 
capture. They had been brought in by a "Storm Guerrilla Detachment" 
which operated in enemy-occupied territory beyond the Ta Hung 
mountain range to the north and north-west of Hankow. If their capture 
had any literary significance, it was not classical, for the "Storm Guer- 
rillas" were led by the Chinese Communist Party. I took the cue from 
my newspaper colleagues and sat listening to General Wang with what I 
hoped was a perfectly impassive and respectful countenance. 

As we left, one of the newspaper men with me remarked : "A typical 
Szechuen boaster whew !" and spat. 

Late one afternoon my secretary and I were returning from the market 
town of Changjiaji when we fell in with a company commander and his 
squad of soldiers returning from the front lines. The commander told us 
that on the previous night, as his company was crawling lip a hillside to 

storm an enemy position, his men heard a Chinese voice somewhere 
above them say : 

"Lao hsiang [countrymen], come no farther! We have orders to use 
poison gas !" 

"Traitors !" the company commander exclaimed. 

"There is no other way/* said the voice. 

The company crawled down and around the hill, intending to attack 
the position from the rear, but found itself completely surrounded by a 
whole battalion of Manchurian Chinese puppet troops. The puppet 
commander told the company that he would give them back their guns 
if they would retire at once. He said that his men would fire high in the 
air. "You are traitors !" the company commander again exclaimed, but 
the puppet leader answered that when the puppets were conscripted by 
the Japanese in Manchuria, their families had also been registered ; if 
they deserted or refused to fight, their families would be killed. 

The commander argued with the puppets, telling them that the families 
of loyal Chinese were also in Japanese-occupied territory that all 
Chinese were men without homes. He pleaded with the Manchurians to 
come with him. The puppet soldiers stirred uneasily, and the company 
commander said that if it had not been for the officer they might have 
deserted. Even the puppet commander had hesitated and his voice had 
sounded deeply troubled as he told the soldiers to take back their guns. 
Before leaving he had said: "Don't go in that direction; there are 
machine-gun nests there, and the gunners are Japanese." 

Upon returning to my living-quarters I found a guerrilla leader and 
a Korean (who had just brought in some captives) waiting for me. My 
two visitors began to report on conditions in the enemy-occupied territory 
north of Hankow. When I asked why I should not go there and investi- 
gate for myself, they said there was no reason except the danger. The 
guerrillas were leaving at dawn the next morning, and their route lay 
to the east through the Japanese lines in the Ta Hung mountain range. 
The guerrillas marched and fought constantly, and often camped within 
a mile of the enemy. 

I sent my secretary to General Chang Tze-chung with a note asking 
for permission to go. I later learned that General Chang was in con- 
ference with a high military officer from Chungking when my note 
arrived. The officer remarked that the "Storm Guerrilla Detachment" 
of the New Fourth Army was illegal and had no right to be in this 
region ! 

"Illegal?" asked General Chang. "What is legal or illegal? They have 
cleaned *out many puppet armies in our rear ; they've organized the 
people into anti-Japanese associations ; they've sent us Japanese captives. 
Is that illegal? If it is, what is legal?" 

He then took up his pen and began writing a permit for me to visit 
the guerrillas, and as he did so he declared : "It's just another political 

matter. These guerrillas are illegal only because their commanders are 
Communists. I care nothing for a man's political opinions if he fights the 
enemy !" f 

Not everyone was so objective. When he heard of my intention, one 
of General Chang's adjutants, a Christian who had once been a deacon 
in the First Methodist Church in Peiping, brimmed over with prejudices. r 
He declared that I would be killed if I went into the guerrilla region 
and tears filled his eyes. 

"Save your tears for my funeral," I remarked impatiently. He burst 
out that the guerrillas were Communists, and I replied that I didn't care 
if they were all deacons of the Methodist Church ! 

I left with the guerrillas the next morning. 

It was March, nearly three months later, before I saw General Chang 
Tze-chung again. I had made my way back through the Ta Hung 
mountain range and I reported on the dangerous situation which was 
developing in central China. I told him that General Wang Tsan-hsii, 
that great braggart, had informed me that he had received orders from 
the Ministry of War to wipe out the storm guerrillas with whom I had 
been travelling. . 

General Chang cautiously asked : "Are you certain of his words?" 

"Definitely ! He told me so repeatedly. Of course, I argued with him 
that such civil war would help no one but the Japanese." 

General Chang sat in dead silence, and I'kept my thoughts to myself. 
I had been told that he, too, had been ordered to turn his guns on the 
guerrillas, but had found excuses to evade the order. Only the back- 
ward Szechuen Army would agree to carry out, such a fratricidal policy. 

That was the last time I saw General Chang. I was already ill, and he 
sent me by military truck to a foreign hospital in Ichang on the Yangtze. 
In early June 1940, when I xvas in a hospital in Chungking, one of his 
wounded staff officers called on me and told me this story : 

On May 15, at the height of the Japanese spring counter-offensive, 
General Chang was again ordered to take command of the central-front 
armies engaged in driving the enemy out of Tsaoyang and a number of 
other towns. General Chang had kept only two guard regiments with 
him west of the Han River, and he doubted his ability to make contact 
with the rest of his 33rd Group Army, let alone with other armies. Before 
obeying the command, he wrote a final letter telling his vice-commander, 
General Fang Chih-an, to assume command of the Army in case any 
misfortune befell him. 

On May 18 he and his two regiments were surrounded near Fengjiaji 
by 6,000 enemy infantry and cavalry. They fought for eigtft hours, 
suffering fearful losses, and General Chang was wounded in the left arm. 
The staff officers urged him to retreat while there was still time, but he 
refused, saying he had npt yet done his duty to his country. Even as they 
debated, the enemy closed in and a burst of machine-gun fire hit General 

Chang full in the chest and wounded one of the officers. He ordered the 
two men to get out, but refused to allow them to burden themselves with 
him. 'Tve done my duty," he kept saying. 

A few hours later General Fang Chih-an met the same Japanese force 
and all but decimated them. Among the dead they found the body of 
their own Commander-in-Chief. The Japanese radio had been crowing 
that the body of General Chang would be taken to his native Shantung 
for burial. They had talked of the "traditions of chivalry" and "the 
spirit of bushido". 

.The Chinese brought the General's body to Chungking (at the same 
time as that of Major-General Chung Yi) arid a State funeral was held at 
Peipei, thirty miles outside the capital. The Japanese learned of the 
funeral, and planes came and bombed it. After they were gone, the 
funeral continued, and Generalissimo Chiang conferred posthumous 
honours on the dead leaders. I was told that thereafter there stood on 
the Generalissimo's desk a photograph of General Chang Tze-chung, 
whose conscience was finally at rest. 


A FEW DAYS after I had left the headquarters of General Chang Tze- 
chung, I was sharply and unpleasantly reminded of the boastful Szechuen 
General Wang when I came to one of his regimental hospitals in the Ta 
Hung Mountains. The medical officer in charge of the hospital surprised 
me, although I had thought myself long past surprise in such matters. 
He was in no sense a physician, and how he had secured such a position 
I could not imagine. The regimental commander in the village was 
intelligent and capable, but this man looked like a butcher. Perhaps he 
had been a butcher. 

He kept making all kinds of excuses for not showing me his hospital, 
but when these had failed to quench my interest he reluctantly accom- 
panied jne on a tour. We approached a small group of buildings with 
rotten thatch hanging in clumps from the roof, and entered a courtyard 
surrounded by four rooms. As soon as we entered the courtyard I looked 
about in consternation, for a ceaseless moaning seemed to come out of the 
earth. Turning, I pushed open a door near me. The moaning rose to 
meet me in a wave. 

The room was long and dark, the only light coming from the open door 
and from a narrow window at one end. Down the entire length of the 
room was the usual straw pallet on the earthen floor, and along it, like 
bodies on slab} in a morgue, lay two or three dozen sick and wounded 
soldiers. Between the foot of the pallet and the wall was a narrow aisle 
in which stood four or five big wooden buckets filled with urine and 
excrement, sending up an odour so foul that it was staggering. Some of 
.' 3*5 

the men lay huddled together to keep warm, sometimes three or four 
under one blanket. And from all of them came that ceaseless moaning. 

One sick soldier staggered to his feet and started towards one of the big 
buckets. I reached out, grasped his hot, feverish hand, and helped him 
reach the bucket. 

All politeness forgotten, I strode down the aisle and talked with the 
men. Then I walked out and turned into another similar room. Here I 
saw a number of dead men lying side by side with the living. I pushed 
open a door in a corner of this second room and found myself in a cham- 
ber so small and dark that I had to stand for a moment until my eyes 
could adjust themselves to the gloom. Slowly I made out the faint out- 
lines of men lying on the floor. I turned one man over. He was stiff in 
death, and his clothing and the straw beneath him were covered with 
excrement. A hand reached out from somewhere and tugged at my 
trouser leg. Looking down, I found myself staring into glittering black 
eyes. "Help me !" a hoarse voice whispered. 

This was a room for those abandoned to death. I staggered out into 
the courtyard and then into still another long room where still other men 
moaned their misery. The doctor kept following me and protesting that 
the staff had finished work for the day that there was no medicine 
that there was not enough help. . . . But from the pallet in this last room 
a derelict of a soldier stood up and cried out desperately : 

"This isn't a hospital ! This is a death-house. The doctor says we 
must sacrifice. He .doesn't sacrifice ! He saves money on our food ! He 
doesn't care. No one cares !" 

The "doctor" stepped forward and struck the man in the face. When 
I cried out, he turned and peremptorily ordered me to leave the hospital., 
I went in silence, but once outside I confronted him, swearing that I 
would tell this story to General Chang Tze-chung to everyone in 
Chungking to the whole world ! 

In a blind rage I started out to find the regimental commander, but 
before I had begun to talk to him, the matter was settled with terrible 
finality. The soldier whom the doctor had struck had stumbled to the 
house where his company commander lived. He had told what' had hap- 
pened, but the company commander had cursed him and threatened 
him with court-martial. The soldier staggered away and came back with 
a rifle. A number of soldiers saw him approach, but watched him in 
silence and without stirring. 

The soldier called the company commander, and when the officer 
came out, shot him in the guts, He then turned and started towards the 
house where the doctor lived ; the soldiers followed him, watching from 
a distance. At the doctor's door the soldier told an orderly to tell the 
doctor that someone wanted to see him. The doctor was having dinner 
with two friends and came out angrily. The soldier emptied his gun into 
him. Then he staggered forward into the house itself, but the two friends 

of the doctor had fled. The soldier brought his gun down on the dinner- 
table, smashing and scattering everything. This done, he staggered out, 
through the group of watching soldiers, down the short street, and along 
the path leading into the mountains. 

In a short time the whole village was -in an uproar. Before any officer 
could learn what had really happened, darkness had fallen and the muti- 
neer was somewhere in the mountains. An officer found some; of the 
soldiers who had watched the whole affair and began screaming at them. 
One soldier answered that none of them had had a gun or cartridges, 
while the mutineer had a good rifle. 

Beyond this the officer could learn nothing. Special guards were on 
duty that night, but it was useless, imd after talking with his staff, the 
regimental commander called all the soldiers and delivered a speech. 
He said the mutineer had murdered two men and, if found, would be 
shot. But he also said he would reform the hospital, and he hoped that 
soldiers with complaints would thereafter come directly to him instead 
of shooting their officers. 

Afterwards a small group of young soldiers went to the regimental 
commander to talk things over. They had heard that some armies put 
committees of convalescing soldiers in charge of food money and purchas- 
ing ; if their hospital could have such a committee, they said, no one 
could complain about the food or accuse the doctors of stealing the 
money. They wanted to fight the Japanese, and didn't care if they were 
killed, they said ; but they didn't want to go to the hospital to die. They 
thought that the doctors should attend to their duties and that the at- 
tendants ought to keep the place clean and occasionally bring in fresh 
straw for the pallets. The dead ought to be removed, they said, and sick 
men should not have to watch their comrades dying by their sides. In 
the middle of the winter wounded men ought to have covers. . . . 

The regimental commar^er said that the officers had always been too 
busy to look into such matters, but henceforth would do so. He was quite 
formal, but friendly, and the men did not take advantage of the situation. 
Finally they saluted with military precision, but as they went out I saw 
one or two who could not hide the gleam of satisfaction in their eyes. 

During the remainder of that evening the whole place seemed to be 
whispering, and now and then I heard low laughter. Next morning we 
heard from the guards around headquarters that the soldiers had lain in 
their barracks and talked at length about the day's events. Too bad, too 
bad, some of them said ; but more than one had laughed harshly as if 
thinking of a joke that was none too pleasant. 







We move on. ... A motor highway stretches before us and we hover 
in the forests while our soldiers fan out up and down the highway. 
Then we make a dash and within fifteen minutes have crossed the 
highway and entered a forest beyond. . . . On and on and at last we 
see the shadows of guerrilla sentries standing under trees. We reach 
the first guerrilla village on the eastern slopes of the Ta Hung Moun- 
tains. Our route is now a march of triumph patriotic songs, laughing 
faces, curious eyes. . . . Night comes under candles in a large temple 
packed with men, women, and children, and with the staff of the 
Storm Guerrilla Detachment of the New Fourth Army. A long board 
table lit by candlelight is loaded with peanuts and small red winter 
turnips. Turnips are the only vegetable these people now have, and 
once during the long evening of speech-making, singing, and laughter I 
hear someone say: "Our headquarters must move to a new place; 
over there the turnips are bigger and redder than here." 

A guerrilla staff officer tells me the story of a battle at Machiachung 
Valley three weeks earlier. Many men were killed, including wounded 
soldiers, and the editor of Chi-chi Pao 9 thfi guerrilla newspaper, was 
captured and slain. He was Li Chang-hiang, a former member of the 
Agrarian Research Society of Shanghai. Now the editor is Hsia Wen- 
yao, a graduate of Wuhan University. The staff officer then adds: 

"It's remarkable what a Japanese attack can do to one ! I had been 
sick for two weeks when it began. I got up and before the night was 
finished had walked ninety li [thirty miles] ! I've never been sick 
since. It cured me completely." 

"It's adrenalin," I*, reply. "I myself could do with a little machine- 
gunning, for I've been ill." 

"You'll be cured here !" he laughs. 

Well, I soon found that I was once more with a group of men to whom 
knowledge was as important as guns. The Chi-chi Pao called a conference 
to which almost everyone came. They sent me the list of subjects I was 
expected to discuss, and my heart sank into my cotton cloth shoes. They 

included: (i) the present European war, (2) Soviet-Finnish hostilities, 
(3) Chinese-American relations, (4) the present military situation in 
China, (5) relations between the Chinese political parties, and (6) 
suggestions for improvement. 

The women leaders of the guerrillas one of them a military com- 
mander known as "Big Sister Chen" also informed me that they were 
calling a conference of women from eleven districts in the enemy rear 
and that I would be expected to speak on the international women's 
movement and the achievements of Chinese women in the war. And I 
would be asked, of course, to "guide them" ! 

The letters began to trickle in from that vast guerrilla belt north of 
Hankow, urging me to visit the regiments in the field and participate in 
the mass educational campaign preceding the "first democratic elections 
of lower officials in the enemy rear". I would be expected, as a citizen 
of a democratic country, to lecture before civilian mass meetings on de- 
mocracy and attend delegate conferences before the final elections. Two 
magistrates also invited me to visit their districts and lecture to their Self- 
Defence Corps. One signed himself "Shong Yi, your 7o-year-old friend". 

On the heels of these came a letter from a sailor, chief of the secret anti- 
Japanese civilian organization known as the "Ten-Man Group", inform- 
ing me that some 100,000 civilians had been organized in the enemy rear 
and would soon hold a delegate conference in the lake regions north- 
west of Hankow at which I would be expected to speak about everything 
on earth. With the letter came five cartons of captured Japanese 
cigarettes, a Japanese flag, five beautiful new Japanese notebooks, a 
bottle of ink, and a Japanese woman's silk kimono ! 

For nearly three months I marched and talked and marched and 
talked. The snow fell and piled in drifts ; the Japanese came and fought 
us; we moved at night and slept during the day while armed civilians 
guarded every path for miles around. One black night in a freezing, 
penetrating rain I skirted a Japanese-occupied town, crossed a Japanese- 
patrolled highway, and made my way to a guerrilla hospital in which 
two hundred men lay wounded. To prevent the Japanese from discover- 
ing it, the hospital moved once or twice a week. The only "doctor" was 
a Miss Li, a qualified nurse graduated from an American Baptist mission 
hospital in north China. She had trained a dozen men and women, and 
with their help performed major operations, disinfecting everything 
perfectly and enforcing the most rigid rules of sanitation. She dressed in 
a shabby soldier's uniform, rode from village to village, and hid her small 
supply of medicine in a mountain cave. I rode with her and began to 
believe that there were indeed miracles on this earth. 

While I waSi in this hospital, the guerrillas told me of a young Irish 
Catholic priest in Shuihsien, the most strongly fortified Japanese city in 
the region. He had often helped the guerrillas, had protected Chinese 
civilians, and had just distributed free rice to thousands of villagers out- 

side the occupied city. I wanted to meet him. One night while- 1 lay iU 
with bronchitis in the home of a landlord who helped the guerrillas, I 
wrote an invitation to the priest to visit me if he dared leave the Japanese- 
occupied town. A civilian took my note, and on a stormy night, while 
guerrillas fought a column of Japanese along the highway just three 
miles from where I lay, the priest walked fifteen miles and arrived at 
dawn bearing presents of medicine, three cans of Australian butter, and 
some sugar. 

I got up, and together we rode to the village where the guerrilla 
wounded lay. I had already given all my money to the hospital; the 
priest gave all he had fifty Chinese dollars. Many of the wounded still 
lacked coverings. The priest was so affected that he left at once to get 
help in Shuihsien, where his Church had a small hospital. 

At the Shuihsien city gate the Japanese guard ordered him, as was the 
custom, to remove his hat and stand with head bowed for half an hour, 
"the guard then slapped him in the face and allowed him to enter. After 
the young priest had slept a few hours, he presented my appeal to a 
large Protestant hospital in the city, asking for medical supplies and plead- 
ting with the hospital's Chinese doctor to come and help. The mis- 
sionaries sent me only one pound of boric acid, and a bottle of medicine 
for myself. The Chinese doctor refused to come. He had only recently 
gone to Tientsin and brought back a wife all with Japanese permission. 

The priest returned to his own mission and practically looted it of its 
medical supplies. He put such substances as anti-tetanus toxin in the 
bottom of cocoa tins and covered them with cocoa. Underneath his 
clothing he had wrapped his body with surgical gauze. When everything 
was ready, he packed his supplies in four big bamboo baskets and covered 
them with cabbage leaves and turnips. Two Chinese servants from his 
hospital lifted them on carrying poles and they all waited in a shop near 
the gate of the city until the Japanese changed guards. During an interval 
of four or five minutes the gates remained unguarded. Within this period 
the priest, carrying his hat respectfully in his hand, walked through, the 
two carriers following. 

After he had delivered his precious gifts, we rode to guerrilla head- 
quarters, where he remained as a guest for three days. To protect him 
the guerrillas spread rumours everywhere that an American doctor 
from Chungking had arrived. 

One night the guerrillas selected some fifty of their leaders, pledged to 
secrecy, and we all gathered around two long boards on which a feast of 
rice, turnips, and peanuts was spread. It seemed like a glorious dinner, 
and after we had eaten and made speeches in praise of freedom, we sang 
the songs of our countries. In a strange, strong, metallic voice the priest 
sang first a Chinese song and then the Irish Soldier's Song. The Koreans * 
gave us the beautiful Song ofAriran, which Nym Wales later immortalized. 
An Annamese who had been with the guerrillas for years raised his voice 

in a revolutionary song of Indo-China, and four Chinese-Malay boys; 
one of them from Java and three from Singapore, sang songs in Malayan. 
Then we all rose for the Vanguard Marching Song. 

At the end of three days the priest crept back to his mission station, 
removing his hat and standing respectfully before the Japanese as he 


WHEN I FIRST reached the Storm Guerrilla Detachment of the New 
Fourth Army, a hsiao kwei, or "little devil", was assigned to serve me as* 
orderly. The woman reporter who accompanied me was similarly pro- 
vided. Although this was the custom of the guerrilla armies, I still had 
to face an old problem not only of having a child serve me, but of 
exposing children to battle. 

1 Children have taken part in people's revolutions in all lands and in all 
periods. They had taken part in China's 1911 revolution and in the 
"great revolution" of 1925-7. When the civil wars began in China in 
1927, the rising Red Army had faced this problem on a mass scale, for 
thousands of young boys entered their ranks, and sometimes whole 
families of men, women, and children fought with the soldiers. 

As in the main New Fourth Army, these children were given such light 
work as bringing hot water each morning, keeping clean the room of an 
officer or political leader, and carrying messages. For a number of hours 
each day they had to study reading and writing or attend classes. From 
orderly they "graduated" to guard or soldier, and many of them later 
became commanders in the field. With them an entirely new force 
entered Chinese society a force that had grown up in a world of war and 
was literally rooted in revolutionary consciousness. 

In many ways this was a sad phenomenon, yet I could see no other 
path for these children to follow. If Army life was too rigorous for chil- 
dren, it was still not half so bad as their fate in factories and small 
workshops. With the exception of those in well-to-do families, China's 
children bore the brunt of all the storms of misfortune that swept the 

Time and again I heard foreigners in China declare that the hsiao kwei 
in the guerrilla armies were kept by the officers for homosexual purposes. 
These were stories invented by diseased minds. It may be said that I am 
naive or that I was lied to ; but few things can be hidden in an army : its 
life is communal ; it is, in truth, the greatest goldfish-bowl of them all. 
There is absolutely nothing that Chinese soldiers do not gossip about ; 
war conditions them to utter frankness, and even if one man lies to you, 
the next will tell you the truth. 

The hsiao kwei assigned to me was typical of most of the "little devils" 

who joined the guerrillas. His name was Shen Kuo-hwa, and though 

L (China) 3" 

he said he was ten or eleven years old he did not know which he 
looked much younger. With that curious wisdom of China's children, he 
told me that he was small because he had never had enough to eat and 
had been sick so much when he was a "beggar boy". That was long ago, 
he explained, when he was "very little". Bandits had fallen upon his 
poor home in Honan, burning it to the ground, killing his father and 
injuring his mother. His two elder brothers had both joined the Army 
to make a living, and after this disaster he had become a beggar boy to 
earn money to support himself and his mother. 

He could not remember how old he had been at that time. His mother 
had told him to take a bowl and stand in front of a rich man's house. So 
he had toddled out and stood before a big house all day long. Since he 
did not know how to whine and cry out or beat his head in the dust, no 
one paid the least attention to him. Only at the end of the day did a man 
who was coming out of the house ask him why he didn't go home. Kuo- 
hwa told the man that his house had been burned, his father killed, and 
his mother hurt. He himself was a beggar, he explained. The man gave 
him some coppers and sent him away. 

When the snow fell and the wind howled, the woman reporter and our 
two little orderlies often remained in my room all day long because I was 
one of the few persons in the detachment for whom a charcoal fire was 
provided. Like every soldier in the detachment, the two children had 
lice. One day I decided to delouse them. While they bathed in a small 
wooden tub in the corner of the room, I heated the fire-tongs red-hot in 
the coals, then drew them down the wet inner searns of their uniforms. 
When Kuo-hwa had bathed, he came up in all his naked innocence and 
stood by the table watching me, talking all the while about the years 
before he joined the guerrillas. 

"All the lao pei hsing (common people) have lice in winter time," he 
said. "I had them when I was a beggar boy and when I worked for the 
big landlord. If you have just a few lice, you have to scratch all the time. 
But if you have very many you no longer itch, but get a headache which 
does not go away. Yesterday another soldier died of this louse sickness. 
While he was dying many, many lice crawled off his body into the straw." 

Kuo-hwa took the lack of medical care entirely for granted. When he 
had been a beggar boy, he said, he himself had often been ill. He would 
simply lie down somewhere until he felt better. Sometimes people had 
set their dogs on him, and one dog had bitten him on his leg, leaving a 
long scar. 

"I'm afraid of dogs," he added. "I'm afraid they'll catch me." He 
had a scar on his left cheek, but that was a result of the time when the 
bandits had burned down his home. 

Having no conception of time, Kuo-hwa did not know how long he 
had been a beggar. He had watched the "rich little boys" go to school, 
because they had thrown stones at him. He wanted to study, but found 

he could not because he was not "rich". By tracing in the dust the in- 
scriptions he saw on scraps of paper he had learned to write such simple 
things as "one, two, three", but after that the numerals were too difficult. 
When he had asked people to teach him to write his name, they had 
laughed and asked why a beggar boy should want to learn to write. He 
had learned to write his name only after he had joined the guerrillas. 

He must have been about six years old when his mother got a small 
landlord to guarantee him to a big landlord as a reliable cow-herd. The 
landlord paid him eighty Chinese cents a year and gave him food, shelter, 
and the coats and trousers occasionally thrown away by his own sons. 
When he was paid each New Year's, the child gave his mother the 
eighty cents, and she bought cloth and made him the shoes he used 
during the winter. 

When I had finished delousing Kuo-hwa's uniform, he put it on. Then 
he said to me : "You are both my father and my mother." 

I drew him to me, held him between my knees, combed his hair, and 
helped him button his jacket. This embarrassed him a little, for no one 
had ever done it before. He was supposed to take care of me, not I 
of him. 

The Army was everything to Kuo-hwa, it was his Rock of Ages, and 
he gave it credit for everything he had learned. But, he explained, he 
had not been with it very long only a year now and thus he had a great 
deal still to learn. Listening to him talk, with his small melancholy face 
turned up to me, the woman reporter exclaimed in a low voice : "What 
an existence !" * 

As Kuo-hwa talked, the wind wailed outside. He went to the window 
and peeked through the hole in the paper stretched across the frame. 
The storm would not last long now, he assured us, for when the wind 
sounded like that and the snow lay on the earth as it did, the storm would 
soon stop. That he had learned by watching many storms while he 
worked for the rich landlord. 

We asked him how he had come to join the guerrillas. He had once 
been sent into Kioshan, on the Peking-Hankow railway, he said, and 
had stopped to watch an army of soldiers march through. Then sud- 
denly he had seen one of his brothers among them ! But this had been 
his "bad brother", he explained, his "good brother" having been killed 
in the battle at Marco Polo Bridge at the beginning of the war. His "bad 
brother" talked with him, but would not give him or his mother any 
money. Instead, he called Kuo-hwa a fool for working for eighty cents 
a year and advised him to get a job that paid good money. 

From the spldiers Kuo-hwa had heard talk about the Eighth Route 
Army. It was a good Army, a poor man's Army, the soldiers said. 
Officers could not beat or curse the soldiers, and everyone learned to read 
and write, and there were clubs and singing groups. Kuo-hwa asked 
where he could find this "poor man's Army" because, he explained to the 


soldiers, he himself was a poor man and would like to join it. They 
laughed at him and told him the Army was far, far away. So he went 
out and asked a policeman, but the man only shook him and said that the 
Eighth Route Army was made up of bandits. 

Shortly after, he came across a bearded old soldier dressed in a shabby 
military uniform, and asked him the same question. The old soldier, 
named Wang Lao-han, also said that Kuo-hwa was too little to join an 
army, but that the Eighth Route was months away if you walked straight 
north. Then old Wang added that he himself came from a poor man's 
army and that it was not far away. It was the Storm Guerrilla Detach- 
ment. The old man laughed at Kuo-hwa's announcement that he was 
going to join the guerrillas. "Do you know," replied the old man, "that 
the guerrillas live a bitter life, with little food and poor clothing, that 
they march and fight all the time, and that sometimes they get no money 
at all?" 

For one whole day Kuo-hwa dogged the footsteps of Wang, and all day 
long the little fellow pleaded his case : because of too little food and too 
much sickness he was smaller than he should be, but he didn't want to 
get rich and he could walk long distances and carry heavy burdens . . . 
here the landlord's servants beat him and made him do much of their 
work . . . and no one would help him write even his own name. . . . 
. Finally, at the end of the day, Wang Lao-han grew so weary that he said 
Kuo-hwa might go with him and try out the guerrilla life. Kuo-hwa 
followed him into the mountains, and since then he had been an orderly. 

The woman reporter often sat with the two children, helping them 
with their lessons. Each of the boys had a small primer written and 
published by the detachment itself. It began with the words "man" or 
"human being", and went on to "worker", "peasant", and "soldier", 
then to the name of the Army, the name of the Japanese Army, and so 
on to sentences. Across the bottom of each page was a question for 
discussion. Some of these read : 

"A peasant produces rice, a worker weaves cloth. Why can't the 
peasant eat the rice he produces and the weaver wear the clothes he 
weaves?" . . . "Why is there a distinction between the rich and the 
poor?" . . "Why are both the rich and the poor anti-Japanese to- 
day?" . . . "What prevents human beings from relying on each other?" 
. . . "Why is the Japanese Army the most cruel on earth?" 

It was such questions, I feel, that were accountable for much of the 
opposition to the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies. 

"When I grow up I want to join the cavalry and fight the Japanese," 
Kuo-hwa said to me more than once. And each time I thought of lice and 
typhus and wondered if he would live to become a man, to lead poor men 
into battle. 

Soon I had an opportunity to join a platoon of troops going to join a 
field regiment in the lake regions to the north-west of Hankow. The 

woman reporter decided to go with me, but we both felt it would be 
dangerous to take our hsiao kwei with us. Yet when I thought of leaving 
them behind, I could not shake off the memories of the lice alid the 
relapsing fever that menaced them constantly. When I told Kuo-hwa 
that I was leaving, he seemed to be struggling to keep from crying. I 
could not endure it, and wrote a request to the detachment commander 
asking for permission to take the child with me. Kuo-hwa took the 
message and shot away like a streak of light, but I later heard from the 
commander that he did not really deliver it. Instead, he popped into 
the room of the commander, saluted, and announced that I wanted him 
to go with me ! The commander was somewhat surprised, but the boy 
stood his ground. He argued that he had often marched with the Army 
all night long, carrying heavy loads. Furthermore, he pleaded, I needed 
him because he knew all my habits and needs. 

The commander replied that since I really wished it, Kuo-hwa could 
of course go with me. The child asked him to write this down, and soon 
came running back with the written permission. I was surprised, but 
thought that the Army knew what it was doing. 

So I took Kuo-hwa with me into the lake regions. On the third night 
out we stopped at a village about five tniles from the motor highway 
which we planned to cross at midnight. A group of new volunteers, as 
yet without arms, had gathered to join us in the village, and a number of 
travellers carrying bundles were also waiting for us ; for the highway was 
used by the Japanese to send reinforcements up to the Ta Hung moun- 
tain front, and they had established garrisons in all the larger villages 
near by. 

When the darkness was deep enough, we lined up to march. A number 
of peasants had gathered to see off their sons who had volunteered. I 
remember one old woman standing on a little knoll, wiping the tears 
from her eyes, and a young woman with a baby in her arms who kept 
running by the side of one of the men and crying : "Gome back as soon 
as you can !" And then out of a house on the outskirts of the* village we 
heard an Amazonian voice bawling the name of a youth. Before the 
woman reached us we were already marching rapidly, but she caught up 
with us and ran up and down the column, peering into the face of each 
man. We learned that her son had run away to join the guerrillas and 
she was trying to find him. But not a sound came from our marching 
column, and long after we had left her behind we heard her voice wailing 
in the night. 

A few hours later we skirted the walls of a village, intending to cross 
the highway beyond, but just as we came within sight of the road, we 
stopped dead in our tracks. There, about a hundred yards ahead of us, 
were a dozen or more Japanese soldiers, rifles slung across their backs, 
standing around a huge bonfire in front of a building. As we watched, 
several Japanese came out of the building with tables and chairs and 


threw them on the fire. Then they all stood about, warming themselves 

We drew back behind the village walls, and the guerrillas put their 
heads together and began whispering. The woman reporter and I 
joined them. They were planning to wipe out the Japanese ! We both 
protested. We had just passed a Japanese garrison a mile away, we 
argued, and they would come out and attack us from the rear. We also 
pointed out that we did not know how many more Japanese were inside 
the house or what their equipment was. We had no more than twenty- 
five rifles and one machine-gun, and the machine-gun had only two 
dozen cartridges. 

Finally we persuaded them to make a short detout and cut in towards 
the highway a few hundred yards away. The woman reporter and I were 
both riding our horses. Just as we approached the highway we heard 
the roar of approaching motor trucks. Immediately a wild whisper fled 
down the column ordering everyone to run and all non-fighters to get 
into the shelter of the hills. I saw the small figure of Kuo-hwa speeding 
across the highway ahead of me. In the darkness and confusion my horse 
dashed out to the end of a low, half-destroyed bridge, crouched and 
sprang. We landed on a road in the midst of figures scurrying in every 
direction. My muleteer grabbed the bit of my horse and ran towards the 
rice-fields. Ahead of me were three of the new volunteers in long gowns, 
running as I had seldom seen men run, and my muleteer kept whispering 
fiercely: "Beat the horse! Beat the horse! The enemy is coming! 5 * 

We went over an embankment in one leap and out over the dark 
fields, while from behind us bullets began singing to the stars, hand- 
grenades burst, and a machine-gun rattled. We heard the engines of enemy 
motor trucks grind to a stop, then one of them roar on down the highway. 

"Stop!" I cried to the men. "The enemy isn't coming! We will get 

"Beat the horse !" gasped the muleteer from behind me,s and ran 
farther. I began ta feel like a coward. We were abandoning our men, 
and I was the only one of our group with even a small pistol ! I flung 
myself from the saddle and struggled with the terrified muleteer. 

"We must go back ! We must find our men !" I cried. 

Through his hard breathing I heard the strange singing of the bullets. 

"The devils ! The devils !" he gasped, but ceased struggling. I grasped 
his hand, and we led the horse behind the towering grave-mound of some 
rich man of old. Two of the volunteers had already disappeared. 

The fighting had died down and all was as silent as the dead. There 
was no moon and only the stars gave a faint light. My horse began to 
champ the grass at our feet and the volunteer whispered : "Your horse is 
white and the enemy $&n see ! He is eating grass and the enemy can 
hear !" With these words he turned and disappeared into the darkness. 

My muleteer, now perfectly calm, whispered: "Now what?" 

"Wait," I answered, and, leaving him behind the grave-mound, I 
crawled to the summit, lay down on my stomach, and in the darkness 
watched for any sign of movement. Nothing moved. Beyond was the 
dark outline of the nills along the highway. I strained my ears for any 
human sound; when none came I went down the hill and said: "I'll 
give the guerrilla signal." 

"No ! No !" cried the muleteer. "The devils may know it !" 

"I must!" I said in desperation, and crawled up the hillock again, lay 
down, raised my hands, and clapped softly. No answer came back. I 
tried again, this time a little louder, and heard whispered protests behind 
me. No reply ! I clapped again sharply, and from far away a cautious 
signal answered. I tried again, and it was repeated. I grabbed my 
muleteer by the hand and my horse by the bridle and began to drag,, 
them in the direction of the signal. The muleteer kept saying : "It may 
be the enemy!" We moved forward, cautiously giving the signal at 
intervals and hearing the answer drawing ever nearer. Soon we were 
very near. We stopped short and stepped behind our horse. I drew out 
my pistol, released the safety-catch, and waited. 

Out of the darkness in front of us came three dark shadows. "Pass- 
word !" they demanded harshly, and we s^w their rifles trained upon us. 

"Asses !" cried the muleteer in wild joy, and ran towards them and 
fell upon their necks. 

The three guerrillas slung their rifles back over their shoulders and, 
laughing, gave me pats of joy that almost knocked me down. 

"We got 'em ! We got 'em !" they cried, and, holding hands, we walked 
across the rice-fields. One of them whistled softly in pure joy, broke off, 
and laughed: "Ai-yoh! When my hand-grenade landed right in the 
body of that truck, did the devils scatter ! Did they scatter !" He turned 
to another and said : "Now listen here, remember that when a truck is 
running, you must not throw your hand-grenade right at it, but ahead 
of it ! That's the reason we failed to get that first goddam truck !" 

"Ta Ma Di !" the other cursed. "Of course our machine-gun had to 
jam ! It couldn't wait until later. And of course we had to have only 

Cursing the machine-gun and making uncomplimentary remarks 
about the mothers of Japanese soldiers, we finally reached a market 
town three miles from the highway. Here the Japanese had established 
a puppet government, but without troops, and every puppet was one of 
our men. The whole government came out to welcome us, and its chief 
stood in the midst of our troops talking excitedly. 

As we came into the village I was surprised to see Kuo-hwa standing 
by like a lost soul. As soon as he saw me he ran to rfft, placed his two 
small hands on my arm, and stood in perfect silence looking up into my 
face. When the order had been given for us to scatter, he had fled with 
the woman reporter and a young poet, Loh Fan, who had become my 

assistant. But when he had learned that I had disappeared, he had 
begun running about in the darkness crying out, asking if the devils had 
caught me. The woman reporter had taken him by the hand and told 
him to be silent, but he had said that he must go and search for me, that 
I would answer to his voice, but no other. When they told him he was a 
child and would get lost, he ceased crying, looked around at the hills 
and trees, and answered : "I will find her and come back ! When she 
came to our Army, they told me to serve her and said I must take care of 
her. It is my duty." 

A heavy fog from the lakes that stretch for miles to the west and north- 
west of Hankow blanketed the earth, and at dawn we began marching 
onward through it. We passed villages from which all people had fled, 
thinking we might be Japanese clad in Chinese uniforms. As the light 
increased and the fog lifted we entered a market town on the shores of a 
great lake. Only three or four old men and women and a few children 
remained behind ; all the rest of the population had rowed far out on the 
bosom of the lake. One of the old women took a huge brass gong, beat 
it, and bawled like a foghorn to the people on the lake : "Gome back ! 
Come back !" 

They came back and gathered about us in joy, but their excitement 
was greatest when they saw me. They gathered about me in crowds, and 
I heard men trying to decide whether I was a man or a woman, American, 
German, or English. One woman pulled back her little child in fear and 
declared : "She has eyes like a cat !" 

My little Kuo-hwa could not endure this. He stood up before them and 
cried: "She does not have eyes like a cat! She is a woman and our 
American friend ! She helps our wounded ! In Tingjiachun.she found a 
wounded man and fed him and gave him a bath. She even helped him 
do all his business." 

The people turned their eyes on me in amazement. My "son" would 
not stop. "Look at her bandaged hand !" he demanded, taking my hand 
in his. "She got this when she picked up a pan of hot water while she was 
bathing a wounded soldier. She is both my father and my mother! If 
any of you are sick, she will cure you." 

When at last I decided to leave the Storm Guerrillas, the thought of 
typhus or relapsing fever haunted me, and I decided to adopt Kuo-hwa 
as my son if the detachment and he himself were willing. True, I 
argued with myself, he was not the only one. But in west China, I had 
learned, an American-trained professor of child education had estab- 
lished a school that laid great emphasis on science. The life was austere 
and the children did all their own work, and for relatively little money 
the children were well fed and clothed. I questioned very much the 
desirability of having a foreigner bringing up a Chinese child and perhaps 
thereby isolating himYroiq his own people. Yet I allowed my mind to 

stray to some far-off time when I might even be able to send Kuo-hwa 
to a foreign country for advanced scientific studies. But my own life was 
so dreadfully insecure and uncertain, dare I undertake such a project? 
I would try. 

So I went to Li Hsien-nien, the commander of the Storm Guerrillas, 
and, while many men stood about, talked with him about adopting Kuo- 
hwa. Li had once been a Red Army commander, and before that a 
carpenter ; life had been bitter for him and for his people, and individuals 
must have seemed of little importance to him. When he asked me why 1 
wished to adopt Kuo-hwa, I tried to give my reasons a scientific basis. 
The child had a scientific turn of mind, I argued, and I mentioned his 
observations of lice, of wind and snow, the way he learned to read and 
write so quickly, and how he could tell the directions from the stars at 
night. Good, Li Hsien-nien said, I could adopt the boy if I wished and 
if the boy himself consented. 

A burly fellow leaning against the door-frame remarked that he could 
do all the things I said Kuo-hwa could do. And he felt certain that he 
knew much more about lice. Would I like to adopt him too? Li Hsien- 
nien smiled dryly and added that it wouldn't be a bad idea for me to 
adopt the whole lot of them ! The conversation became a little rowdy. 

But it was a very serious matter with Kuo-hwa. He asked me about 
the school in west Ghina, and said he was afraid of rich little boys. He 
belonged to the Army, he explained. I argued that he might try the 
school for a time, and then return to the Army and teach others what he 
had learned. The Army needed teachers, I urged. He thought in silence, 
then asked to be allowed to talk it over with the other little orderlies. 
The following day he came in with another orderly and gave me his 

"We think all men must remain at the front," he said. "You can 
adopt me after the final victory." 

We could not sway him. 

But before leaving the lake region I arranged for my "son" to join the 
Children's Dramatic Corps of the Storm Guerrillas. A young woman 
teacher was in charge of the corps, which spent half the day in study and 
the other half writing and rehearsing patriotic dramas, songs, and folk- 
dances which were to be presented to soldiers and civilians. 

As the small boat which was to take me out of the lake regions pulled 
away from the shore, I saw Kuo-hwa for the last time. He and two other 
boys stood on the bank, washing their clothes in the waters of the lake. 
He cried to me and waved, then stood perfectly still, watching as my 
boat disappeared into the mist. 

L2 329 


JLlowN IN THE dreary lake regions which stretch for miles and miles 
to the north-west and west of Hankow, regions in which the annual 
floods of the Han River force hundreds of thousands to live on small 
boats for months at a time, we were both hunters and hunted. There I 
spent weeks with the 4th Regiment of the Storm Guerrilla Detachment, 
living in a nightmarish world. In addition to their own activities, the 
guerrillas had called to Cfe that vast underground civilian organization, 
the "Ten-Man Group", and together they hunted their enemies like 

The 4th Regiment was one of the six guerrilla units of a detachment 
which was separated by thousands of miles from the New Fourth Army, 
but bore its name perhaps because the New Fourth had been legally 
constituted by the Government, while the Storm Guerrillas had not. 
Three or four guerrilla detachments in the Fifth War Zone had official 
status, but the "Storm Guerrillas" continued to function only because no 
Chinese force had so far been willing or able to wipe them out. I had 
taken this fact lightly while in General Chang Tze-chung's headquarters; 
but once in a contested zone, it sometimes seemed that beside this internal 
problem the Japanese threat was only a sideshow. 

Each regiment of the Storm Guerrillas had its own peculiarities : the 
4th \vas composed primarily of peasants and artisans from the one-time 
Chinese Soviets. This whole territory had been the "storming ground" 
of Ho Lung, commander of the old Second Red Army Corps and now 
commander in the Eighth Route. Here the Communists laid a founda- 
tion of Marxian thought and a machinery for resistance which years of 
ruthless Kuomintang control had suppressed but not destroyed. The - 
Communists always looked upon the region as theirs and the Kuomin- 
tang did too. Each side knew all the moves made by the other. 

Even when the Japanese hammered at the doors of Hankow in 1938, 
the Kuomintang refused to permit this old Soviet region to be mobilized 
or the people armed for guerrilla warfare. The Gctamunists argued that 
an armed people would make it impossible for the Japanese to consolidate 
their base around Hankow, but the Kuomintang knew that an armed 
people would also be a permanent danger to itself. The Communists 
were called "insincere". 

When the Government armies retreated before the Japanese around 
Hankow, many sick, wounded, and exhausted Chinese soldiers dropped 
or threw away their guns as they moved westward. The civilians who 
had once fought for the Soviets gathered up and hid these guns 
although bandits gathered others and became a menace almost as fearful 
as the Japanese. 

As official Chinese smthority disappeared under the Japanese tide of 
conquest, Chinese Communist organizers began to filter into the region, 

knocking on doors at night. And well did they know every door ! The 
chief of the$e organizers was a thin, restless man named Tao Ghu. With 
his tousled hair and his moustache, he did not look Chinese at all. He 
worked secretly with a young man named Tsai, heir to some salt-mines 
near occupied Yingchcn. Tsai was a capitalist, but he had been educated 
in Peiping and had become imbued with modern thought. While the 
old merchants in the Chamber of Commerce in Yingchen formed the 
puppet government for the Japanese, Tsai called upon the miners from 
his own and other mines to fight the enemy. A few hundred of his 
workers followed him. They were given guns salvaged by the people, and 
Tsai used his fortune to finance them. Eventually the young capitalist 
became the Communist commander of the 5th Guerrilla Regiment, and 
I frequently saw him striding about in a captured Japanese coat, sharing 
the same fate as everyone else. 

The 5th Guerrilla Regiment often joined the 4th to make assault on 
some puppet army or Japanese garrison, and at such times I had an 
opportunity to talk with the salt-miners. They were like no other men 
on earth. Once I put my arm across the shoulders of a lad whom I took 
for a child, a "little devil" ; but when the "child" looked up I saw the 
sad, lined lace of a mature man. 

The salt-mine tunnels round Yingchen were so low that only children 
could work in them, and even they could hardly stand upright while 
working. Many began to work at the age of seven or eight, and spent 
their lives digging salt. Naked in the hot tunnels, they often remained in 
the mines for weeks at a time, sleeping and eating underground. The 
owners fed them and paid them a wage of about twenty coppers a day 
although the children never knew when a day began and when it ended. 
They worked until exhausted, and they told me that foremen with little 
whips crawled along the tunnels to beat those who fell asleep. 

Because of this slave existence, the bodies and minds of the salt-miners 
were undeveloped. They followed Tsai against the Japanese because he 
was the owner who clothed and fed them to them it was only another 
kind of work. Once, in the early months after Hankow fell, they de- 
manded higher wages, refusing to fight if he did not pay. He explained 
that all his wealth was being used to support them and other guerrilla 
units ; but they did not understand. If they could get more money else- 
where, why not, they thought. So the first months had been filled with 
confusion and despair, whole companies of salt-mine guerrillas going 
over to the Japanese or their puppets, then later coming back to bargain 
with Tsai. 

But most oTthem eventually remained with the guerrillas. By the time 
I arrived in the region they had become a pillar of resistance, and where- 
ever any new guerrilla unit needed a backbone, units of salt-miners were 
sent to stiffen it. I watched them curiously. The casual, uncomplicated 
spirit which distinguishes men who have enjoyed a normal childhood 

and youth was a stranger to them. They were grey and grim. They did 
not know how to play. They had learned to sing but only fierce songs 
of revolution. 

Shortly after my arrival in the guerrilla region I witnessed the founding 
of the 6th Regiment of the Storm Guerrillas, and it was almost as strange 
in origin as the salt-miners* regiment. Fifteen hundred men who before 
the war had been the Peace Preservation Corps of Yingchen and had 
transferred their allegiance to the Japanese-controlled puppet Govern- 
ment after the fall of Hankow, came over to the Storm Guerrillas. They 
had never been real puppets, for their officers, the chief of whom had 
been a foreman in the salt mines, had kept the guerrillas informed of all 
orders issued to him by the Japanese. For a year and a half they had 
walked a tight-rope until, fully armed, they had at last mutinied. 

The guerrillas received the new regiment in a night mass meeting at 
which all the leaders spoke, and at which I told the amazed mutineers 
why foreign people supported China instead of Japan. Some of the new 
officers had exceptionally alert and handsome faces, but I had the im- 
pression that they had not quite made up their minds. The Storm 
Guerrilla commanders assured and reassured them too much, I thought 
that they did not have to be Communists to belong to the detachment. 

During this very meeting a peasant messenger arrived with a letter to 
the Storm Guerrilla Detachment. When the commander opened it he 
found it to be from a Japanese officer who was urging the whole detach- 
ment to mutiny and join the Japanese. The letter read in part : 

I am a Japanese Colonel and I feel very sorry about the war between 
China and Japan. I am a man of East Asia ; you are men of East Asia. 
Why, now, do we men of the same race wage war? My Empire is now 
building a happy world in which Japan, Manchuria, and China will 
go forward together. ... 

Open your eyes and look at the condition of the world. Russia, 
France, England, and America are all occupied with their own affairs 
and are at odds. They have no time to think of China. Why does your 
Army not realize this? Look at the condition of the Chinese armies 
that come over to us. They are very happy. Hand in hand with the 
Japanese Army they are rebuilding East Asia. ... > 

I will wait for you in Pinglingshih. If your representative comes to 
me there, I will not kill him. . . . 

It was dated January 23, 1940, bore a seal, and was signed by Ta Nieh 

Pan Tze, a Colonel of the Empire. 

The guerrilla commanders laughed contemptuously and announced 
it they would meet the Colonel's troops in their own way and at a 
; and place of their own choosing. It might be by night or by day 

ifee would certainly not know in advance. And they would return from 

the rendezvous with guns and ammunition. 

Shortly after this incident I sent two plain-clothes guerrillas through 
the Japanese lines to Hankow with letters to friends and to the Inter- 
national Red Cross Committee, reporting on the desperate need for 
medical supplies in the guerrilla region and asking for Chinese doctors 
and nurses. My messengers delivered the letters safely. Two foreign 
friends, one of them a young missionary, pounded the streets of Hankow 
trying in vain to induce the International Red Cross Committee to grant 
my requests. They refused, fearing, like timid rabbits, that the Japanese 
would learn about it. So my friends took up a collection and bought 
quinine, disinfectants, and gauze. But there was no cholera vaccine. 

My friends also sent personal gifts to me, including a box of such 
American magazines as Time , Life, and the New Torker. Scattered among 
them were small match-books. Chinese matches were really poor things, . 
and the American matches with blue heads and a tiny white dot on the 
end sent the guerrillas ah-ing and oh-ing. 

All of these precious gifts had been protected by my friends in a cover- 
ing letter, in case the Japanese should capture my messengers. This letter 
consigned the stuff to 

Miss Betsy Ross 

Mission of the Lattcr-Day Saints, 
Tanyang, Hupeh. 

I sat in my small boat on the Chao Lakes and laughed at the letter. 

Only I could understand the humorous implications in the address ; and 

r the enclosed letter was a marvel of disguised information. Respectable 

Americans in Hankow were learning a great deal about secret conspiracy. 

This was the first personal letter I had received for nearly a year, and 
it lit a small flame within my heart. The shipment was so unusual that 
many small guerrilla sampans some with machine-guns drew up and 
tied themselves to our cluster of boats. Copies of Life began to circulate, 
the guerrillas staring over one another's shoulders at the pictures. 

I ran through the magazines to see what new books were out, what 
plays were being given in New York City, and what was new in the 
medical world. Then with pleasant anticipation I took up the New 
Torker and scanned the "Talk of the Town" and "Ho Hum" sections. 
But my sense of humour seemed to have changed, for all the notes meant 
to be so wise and witty seemed to me incredibly thin and trivial. 

The guerrillas asked me to explain the advertisements and photo- 
graphs, and I began to scan the "Christmas shopping" pages. Here was 
a fur coat that could be bought for the trifling sum of $1,500 or up! 
. . . Here were motor-cars, houses, necklaces, sets of silver, bed-linen 
all at fabulous prices. Here was "Vampire Perfume" at $100 a bottle* 
Life seemed to be filled exclusively with photographs of women in bathipg* 
suits. These photographs staggered the guerrillas, and I did not know 
how to explain them. 


My friends in Hankow had been able to collect only six hundred 
Chinese dollars to buy medical supplies for a region in which millions of 
people suffered from malaria, dysentery, typhoid, and in which cholera 
epidemics killed thousands each year. Sitting in that little boat under a 
lowering sky and staring at these American magazines, it suddenly 
seemed that I could not endure the contrast between America and China. 


vJccASiONALLY MEMBERS OF the Ten-Man Group and the guer- 
rillas brought in supplies taken from enemy boats along the Han River. 
The guerrillas would set up machine-guns along ^thc bank, fire a few 
shots, and order the boats to shore. If the enemy refused, his boats were 
often riddled and sunk. 

I once saw men bring in the cargo of eight enemy junks. It consisted 
of hundreds of pounds of brown sugar, five-gallon tins of American 
gasoline and kerosene, bolts of cotton cloth, and a vast variety of such 
miscellaneous stuff as paper, notebooks, cheap fountain pens, and ink. 
There were also a few hundred pairs of flannel under-drawers and the 
usual Japanese flags. These flags were a drug on the market in the enemy 
rear ; some of the better ones saw service as curtains or table-covers, but 
many were used just to wrap up bundles. The choicest part of this haul 
was crates of fine Japanese cigarettes in delicate cream and gold cases 
engraved with the word "Reward". These had been intended as gifts 
from the Japanese Emperor to his troops in China. They had short pipe- 
stems, somewhat like the tips of Russian cigarettes. We smoked them for 
weeks, making facetious remarks every time we offered one to a friend. 

The guerrillas got all their uniform-cloth from the enemy, which ex- 
plained why some of the units looked like beds of peonies. They were 
dressed in black, green, blue, and various shades of grey, and once I saw 
about a dozen of them sporting the white flannel drawers. 

Chinese traitors were brought in every week, and in the middle of 
February I talked with twenty puppet soldiers who had been captured 
in a battle between the guerrillas and a puppet army commanded by 
Wang Bu-ching. The captured puppet soldiers were sad-eyed, dreary- 
looking men who said they had been forced into the puppet army. After 
the capture of Hankow, one said, the Japanese had come to his village 
in Hwangpei and burned it to the ground. Hearing that coolies were 
wanted to build a Chinese railway, he and five friends had gone to a 
Chinese recruiting agent ; they were led up the Han River to Chujhushan 
and then told they were in Wang Bu-ching's army. They knew nothing 
at all about political matters, but Commander Wang had delivered a 
speech in which he said that his chief, Wang Ching-wei, had really been 
sent by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to make peace with the Japanese, 
and that that was why Wang Ching-wei was in Nanking, He also told 

them that a representative of the Central Government served in*his 
headquarters as adviser. The soldiers said they had had no means of 
knowing if such things were true or not. 

The guerrillas never punished such puppet captives. Instead, they 
gave them a little training and then 'asked- them to join the guerrillas. 
The puppet commanders, who were often, educated men, were treated 
more harshly, and some were even executed. 

I often attended the military courts before which traitors were brought 
for examination. The chief judge in this martial court was a young 
officer with a long, deep scar down his left check a wound from a 
Japanese sword. He had had some five years of regular schooling before 
the war had begun, but his chief education had been in the Army. Fighting 
in the enemy rear, he had in a short time picked up what would otherwise 
have taken him decades to learn. Of'ordinary law he knew nothing, but 
he knew patriots, he knew traitors, and he knew politicians who would 
be traitors if they could. 

One day I saw two prisoners brought into the courtroom. One was a 
short, degenerate-looking creature about thirty years of age, sallow from 
opium-smoking. In his first hearing he admitted that he had owned an 
opium shop in Fengshuiji, a Japanese-occupied town, and that while his 
brother tended the shop he went into the countryside to gather military 
information about the guerrillas for the Japanese. He had been paid by 
the piece five dollars for each item of information. Because of this low 
pay, he argued that he was one of the oppressed, only a "small traitor" ! 

The other prisoner, a puppet chief, was in his middle forties. He was 
short and filthy, had a scraggly black beard, and looked as if he had not 
taken a bath since the outbreak of war. He wore a greasy blue gown and 
a small black silk cap. He bowed and smirked like a slave, a habit he 
had picked up in Fengshuiji while serving his Japanese masters. Before 
acquiring his high position he had been a poor man, a dealer in quack 
medicines. He boasted of his skill, describing himself as an "injection 
expert" who could cure almost any disease by aphrodisiacs or concoctions 
of herbs, tiger's bones, coffin nails, and snakeskins. He even argued that 
the guerrillas ought to take him into their medical service. 

The guerrillas knew little of medicine, but they knew a great deal about 
traitors. They told him that if he would send a messenger to his wife and 
brother telling them to disgorge all the loot he had acquired since he had 
become a puppet chief, they might think twice before shooting him. He 
offered them a bribe of $1,000, and then gradually raised it to $10,000. 
The guerrillas said they would think about it if the money were placed 
in their hands. Although he had acquired his wealth by usury or by 
keeping the* proceeds from the "Good Man" badges which those in the 
occupied zones were compelled to wear, he argued that his wealth was 
innocently won because he had received not one cent from the "Con- 
solation Houses of the Imperial Japanese Army", 


After a while a great depression seemed to settle on the man, and he 
decided to send a messenger to order his family to give up all the loot; 
I argued that his family might betray the guerrillas, but the judge 
thought that unlikely, since it would most certainly mean the man's 
death. I looked at the greasy old customer and suggested that perhaps 
his wife would like him shot. The judge smiled a little and remarked 
laconically: "We will attend to that too." 

Finally the witnesses were called. It was then that I learned that the 
chief witness, a man with a bandaged hand, was the redoubtable leader 
of the Ten-Man Group, he whom the Japanese called "Kan the Bandit". 

The four witnesses looked much like ordinary civilians. They wore no 
hats, and their faces were hard and brown. Yet the minute I saw "Kan" 
(this was not his real name), I knew he was no ordinary fellow. He wore 
civilian clothes, perhaps, but he walked with the quick, decisive step of 
a military man; and there was nothing unconscious about that lean, 
alert face. He had all the earmarks of a patriot who would not spare his 
enemies. Were I a Japanese, I thought, I would arrest him on general 

I had already heard a great deal about this man. He had been the son 
of a peasant of 'moderate means, which meant he had studied in a public 
school for a number of years. In his youth, like many other peasants, he 
had joined the Han Liu Ban, branch of an ancient peasant secret society 
said to have been organized to fight the Manchus who overthrew the 
Ming Dynasty. This organization had gradually degenerated into a cult 
that practised superstitious rites not unlike those popular in American 
"lodges". They pledged blood brotherhood, exchanged the "eight 
characters of destiny", and kowtowed before burning incense. Their 
leaders had been given high-sounding names. When he had ruled in 
this region, Ho Lung, the Red Army commander, had borne the title 
"Double-headed Dragon". 

Like many other members of the Han Liu Ban, Kan had become a 
Communist during the civil war. When the Red Army was defeated, he 
had been arrested and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. But even 
fearful prison conditions had not broken his body and spirit, and when 
the Japanese invasion stimulated a national united front he had been 
released. He had gone directly to Hankow and served as a guard in the 
Government military 'airdrome. After the Japanese had occupied Han- 
kow, he had returned to his native haunts along the Han River and 
begun tapping on the doors of his Han Liu brothers^ organizing them for 
resistance against the enemy. 

When the Japanese had first occupied this vast region around Hankow, 
traitors had been shameless and boUJ, for Japanese power was great. 
When, however, certain puppets disappeared mysteriously or were 
found in their beds with knives through their hearts, the others became 
shaky. The name of "Kan the Bandit" got around, and the Ten-Man 

Group, operating right inside Japanese garrison towns, became a force 
to be feared. 

Seeing Kan's bandaged hand, I asked about it. A few weeks before, I 
was told, he had, while prowling along the Han River, come upon a 
Japanese motor launch anchored under cover of some trees. He crept up 
and saw a Japanese officer and two women on the deck. He aimed a 
pistol and pulled the trigger, but it jammed and could not be fired. He 
crept close, leaped on to the launch, and grappled with the officer. In 
the struggle the two men tumbled into the river. They fought with their 
feet miring in the muddy bottom. Kan forced the Japanese under the 
water, and although the latter managed to sink his dagger into Kan's 
hand, Kan held him down and then trampled on him. 

Kan then leaped on to the launch again, bound the women, and 
searched the boat. Within a few hours he had delivered the women and 
the boat's supplies to a guerrilla battalion and calmly proceeded with the 
work in which he had been originally engaged. 

Now I listened to this same Kan and three other men testifying before 
the guerrilla court-martial. 

"This man Wang," Kan began without any formality, "is a spy con- 
nected with the enemy Special Service. He used to come into the villages 
and sit around gossiping, picking up what he could about the guerrillas 
and the Ten-Man Group. Our men began to watch him, and I smoked 
and gossiped with him once, and then followed him to his home in 
Fengshuiji. He lives in a house near the devils' barracks, and keeps an 
opium and drug shop on the ground floor. I got these three of our men to 
help. We had knives, because my pistol always jams. We thought " 

"Why does your pistol always jam?" the judge interrupted, 

"It was buried for a year. Sometimes it shoots ; sometimes it doesn't." 

The court waited while the judge turned the pistol over and over, then 
drew out his own gun, a neat little Japanese piece, and presented it to 
Kan with his compliments. He would try to have the other weapon put 
in shape, he said. Kan examined the Japanese pistol admiringly, then 
returned to his testimony : 

"Well, these three comrades went with me one night. We wore 'Good 
Man' badges, and I showed Wang the Special Service papers which I 
had taken from that Japanese launch. I told Wang that we had proof 
that he was going out in the villages and selling the guerrillas information 
against the Japanese. He denied it, and said he could even get the head 
of the puppet Government to guarantee his loyalty to the Imperial Army. 
That gave us an idea, and we went with him to the house of this other 
maggot here. This worm said he would guarantee Wang's good charac- 
ter to the Special Service. So we stuck our knives against their ribs and 
told them that if they so much as peeped, we'd cut them to pieces on the 
spot. In this way we got them outside the town and delivered them to 
your battalion. Wan-la [Finished] !" 


Turning fo the two prisoners, the judge asked them what they had to 
say. The head of the puppet Government bowed from the waist, as if he 
were Japanese, and pleaded that he had been forced to act as head of the 
puppet Government. Kan interrupted laconically : 

"The only thing a man can be forced to do is die !" 

Wang the spy again pleaded th^t he was but a "little traitor" with a 
large family to support. One of the witnesses snorted, and the judge 
turned and asked me if I wanted to ask the prisoners any questions. "I'm 
new at this court business," he explained, "maybe you can help." I 
asked Wang where he got his opium and drugs, and the judge exclaimed 
in surprise: "From the Japanese, of course!" and then remembered to 
ask the spy to reply. The spy repeated the judge's words, but added that 
the Japanese charged too much which again, he said, made him one of 
the oppressed ! 

The judge stared at him for a long time, then told him it was a crime 
punishable by death for any man to be a spy or to deal in opium or drugs. 
The spy sighed heavily and explained that he was poor and had a large 
family. Kan turned on the fellow, and for a moment I thought he was 
going to brain him with his new Japanese pistol. But he only exclaimed : 
"We're all poor and we all have large families; but we^don't sell out our 

A few days later I stood outside the village and saw the two traitors shot. 
Villagers were not allowed to watch executions, but a small group of 
guerrillas gathered near me and shouted*: "Death to all traitors !" 

Kan had already gone on another mission. I had examined his hand 
before he left; the Japanese dagger had cut the nerves and the hand was 

"It's good it was my left hand," Kan remarked. He still had a good 
right hand and he had a new Japanese pistol. 

Some men were lucky. 


As SPRING APPROACHED, the atmosphere in the enemy rear was 
like a threatening sword. Word came from General Chang Tze-chung 
that he was taking his 33rd Group Army west of the Han River for rest 
and replenishment and that I could reach him there. But the Chinese 
winter offensive was petering out. And as the offensive slackened, the 
Japanese began preparations for a spring counter-offensive. The roar of 
artillery from the mountains to our west had never ceased, and the high- 
ways were an endless stream of enemy trucks carrying supplies and troops 
up into the mountains encircling Hankow. We knew what that would 
mean. Once again the mountains and the plains would run with blood. 
It was clear that we were all in for it. 

The first elections of lower officials of towns and villages in the enemy 

rear had served to replace old officials with militant members of the Ten- 
Man Group local school-teachers, blacksmiths, peasants, and even a 
woman. "True men" the new officials were called, because they had 
never wavered in the war, were honest, and did not smoke opium or 
gamble. The Ten-Man Group had finished a winter congress in which it 
had decided to mobilize every person in the enemy rear for the coming 
struggle. While the guerrillas fought, the Ten-Man Group was to train 
new fighters and destroy traitors. 

After that, everyone went gunning for puppets. One day I saw the 
leader of a puppet Government hustled before the guerrilla court-martial, 
condemned to death within ten minutes, and executed within another 
ten. There's something dreadfully decisive about a beheading. 

Within a week the guerrilla regiment with which I moved had fought 
three battles. We slept in our clothing, and almost every midnight a 
warning knock at our door would send us scrambling to our feet. We 
would roll up our blankets and within five minutes be in small sampans 
out on the lakes. I sent off another messenger to Hankow with an appeal 
to the International Red Cross Committee for medical supplies, but 
knew that we would get nothing. A feeling of despair took hold of me. 
Malaria returned to sap my strength, and together with malnutrition it 
was causing my toe-nails to fall off, my teeth to loosen, my eyes to become 
inflamed ; and a skin rash and hives sometimes made my life a torment. 
Yet I tried to keep my shame to myself, for all this seemed to prove that 
I was unable to stand what all Chinese must endure or perish. 

In the middle of March I made my last trip within the enemy rear, 
moving across the lakes, then marching through a pouring rain to visit 
that very old Magistrate Shong Yi. The old man had built up a fairly 
strong local militia and kept on the move, trying to serve his country in 
his own way. I found him in Tienerhoh, a dark arid dreary town which 
had been repeatedly attacked by Japanese raiding columns. 

The old Magistrate and his hsien government led an exhausting life, 
trying to keep the wheels of Chinese administration going. They showed 
me a clever letter from a Japanese named Maruyama which flattered the 
old man's classical learning and urged him to "mount a horse and get on 
a platform" that is, leave Tienerhoh and come to Hanchuan to head 
the puppet Government. Old Shong Yi, a devout Buddhist, penned a 
contemptuous reply in the old classical wen-li poetry. 

The old Magistrate had spent hours composing a report to General- 
issimo Chiang Kai-shek. This he entrusted to me to take to Chungking. 
For I was leaving for western China, hoping to get through the Ta 
Hung Mountains before the enemy counter-offensive began. 

That trip to the west was one of the hardest I had ever made. It took 
us ten days to get through the lake regions and the mountains. We 
travelled day and night, changing boatmen when necessary and scatter- 
ing when enemy airplanes hummed overhead. At night we slept packed 


like fish in the bottom of our boats five guerrillas, Loh Fan, and I, 
head to foot in one small boat. 

Late one afternoon we reached a small island near the northern shore 
of the lakes and waited for darkness, intending to row to a market town 
about a mile away and strike across country into the foothills. But the 
boatmen scouts who went out returned after a few hours to say that the 
market town had just been occupied by the Japanese and that only one 
town on the whole north shore was still accessible. We could land there, 
but must pass two enemy garrisons before we reached the highway. 

Our platoon mounted their machine-guns and we slid into the dark- 
rtess. To protect ourselves from spies, we started towards the market 
town, but then turned sharply and rowed swiftly and silently towards the 
unoccupied town on the north shore. Hardly had we done this when I 
heard gasps from the men around me. I turned quickly, and saw the 
island we had left illumined by a signal flare that lit up the buildings 
and the sky. Traitors used such signals to warn the Japanese of 

Our boatmen bent feverishly over their oars, and the rest of us sat like 
statues, every nerve taut. But the only sound was an eerie one that came 
from a distant lake where some watchman was beating on hollow 
bamboo, telling the time. 

Finally our dark boats slid up into a cove on the northern shore of the 
lake. We sprang out swiftly and stood motionless under a clump of trees 
while men went forward to scout the land. When they returned, we 
began walking swiftly along the winding narrow paths between the rice- 
fields, making our way towards the first highway. 

Just before we crossed the enemy-patrolled highway we sat down to 
rest, leaning against the high encircling walls of a village. A fog hugged 
the earth around us. Glancing up at the walls above, I whispered to 
Loh Fan that if I were a Japanese I would occupy and use just such a 
village as this. Loh Fan whispered back something that men always say 
to women: "Now, don't get excited! Don't get panicky!" 

Before I had time to retort, a sharp order to march came and Loh Fan 
and I began to run, grasping each other's hands to keep from falling. 
We fled through a dark tunnel that cut right under the highway, and 
continued to run until our whole column was brought to a dead stop by 
a guerrilla who cried out: "Look the enemy!" 

Looking back towards the highway under which we had rushed, we 
could see the flare of lights moving about, first on the road itself and then 
down in the tunnel. Clearly outlined by the lights were the moving 
figures of Japanese swinging flashlights and rifles. The Japanese, we 
realized with a shock, had been inside the walled village against which 
we had rested ! Perhaps they had not come out to fight because they had 
not known how many of us there were. 

The guerrillas wanted to go back and fight, but we knew the Japanese 

would retire behind the village walls and get reinforcements from every 
direction. Complaining bitterly, we continued on our way. 

A few days later we left the headquarters of the Storm Guerrilla De- 
tachment and began passing through the Ta Hung Mountains once 
again. An official guerrilla detachment under a commander named 
Tsao Sho had just occupied a long valley through which we had to pass. 
I became nervous as we approached this valley, for many of these 
"official guerrillas" had really been bandits. Tsao Sho himself was 
known to be Fascist in outlook and connected with the notorious Blue 
Shirts. He had only recently informed many people that the Minister of 
War of the Chinese Government had ordered both his guerrillas and the 
2Qth Group Army to attack and annihilate the Storm Guerrilla Detach- 
ment. There seemed to be no end to the complexities of Chinese politics. 

My fears seemed to be confirmed the moment we entered the forbidden 
valley. Voices challenged us from the hillside, and then in a trench 
directly in front of us we saw a row of bare heads and a line of levelled 
rifles. A voice demanded our name and mission. I removed my cap to 
show my blond hair and started forward. I was ordered to halt in my 
tracks. An officer with the face of a bandit took my passport and military 
pass and disappeared. After what seemed hours he returned and took 
Loh Fan and me to a village where I argued with a commander for the 
right to pass through the valley. The permission was granted, the officer 
cynically adding: "Remember to Tsao Sho's headquarters only.'* 

At last we reached the large village in which Commander Tsao Sho's 
headquarters were located. I had visited him once before in the foothills 
of the Ta Hung Mountains, and he had been very pleasant. But now he 
seemed to be mentally preparing himself for conflict with his own country- 
men. In a loud voice he accused the Storm Guerrilla Detachment of 
inspiring democratic elections in the enemy rear and of organizing the 
people into Ten-Man Groups all of which he branded as Communism. 
When I asked him what was wrong with democratic elections, he charged 
that they had been held by violence. When I declared that I had seen 
no violence of this kind, he would not listen. 

He continued to work himself up until I began to fear that he might act 
against us that very night. Finally I told him that I knew that many of 
his guerrillas and officers had been bandits, and that our party therefore 
had to have protection to get through the valley. To my astonishment, 
he admitted the charge, but added that he was trying to re-train them. 
At last he agreed to send a guide to take us through the mountains to the 
point where "his territory" ended. His last words, however, were: "It's 
the last time I'll grant such a request." 

Even then we doubted at times that we would ever get through the 
valley. For hours on end we stumbled through the dark forests, tripping, 
falling, getting lost, clapping, and calling to each other in the night. At 
last we approached the small village where Tsao Sho's domain ended. 


Completely exhausted, we dropped on to a threshing-floor outside the 
village while the guide went up to the dark houses, banged on the doors, 
and shouted the name of his guerrilla detachment. Not a sound answered, 
not a light glimmered. 

Finally our own commander gave the guide some cigarettes and dis- 
missed him, telling him we would make our own way through the moun- 
tains. We all sat perfectly still and listened to the stones rolling from his 
path as he went farther and farther down the mountain-side. Then our 
commander went up to one of the village doors, tapped, arid called : 
"Comrades open! We are Storm Guerrillas passing through the 
mountains. We need a guide." 

A faint light showed, and a moment later the heavy, weather-beaten 
door swung back revealing a peasant woman holding a candle and, 
behind her, the haggard face of a man. In another moment all the doors 
within sight had swung open, and men, women, and children came 
flocking out ! Chattering freely, some began carrying rice straw into the 
houses to make pallets for us, while others fanned the fires under the 
large rice-pots. Our guerrillas hustled about, talking with the people 
like brothers. 





X HE NEWS TRICK LED into Ichangon the Yangtze that the Japanese had 
blasted their way across the Han River to the plains beyond, scattering 
the Chinese armies like sparks from an anvil. First we heard that Shasi 
on the Yangtze had fallen, then that it hadn't. The Chinese had little to 
live on except hope, and it was not easy to admit the loss of new territory. 
Each spring and autumn the Japanese had moved out of their strongly 
prepared defences and tried to annihilate the main Chinese armies, but 
never before had they crossed the Han. Then we thought the high 
mountain ranges guarding Ichaiig on the east could hold them, but soon 
their planes began blasting a way for troops and tanks. And Ichang was 

Despite official statements that the Japanese were being beaten back, 
every steamer and junk going up river from Ichang was jammed with 
evacuees and wounded; and every mountain road was lined with 

I left Ichang on a river steamer shortly before the city fell on June 1 1. 
Soon afterwards I met a Red Cross doctor who had escaped from Shasi 
with his staffand supplies. Of the one hundred and fifty military hospitals 
on the central front, he said, only five had turned up. "What about the 
wounded? 9 ' I asked. He said nothing, and I knew the answer. 

The Japanese had cut right through the 29th Group Army, com- 
manded by General Wang Tsan-hsii, he said. That Army was still run- 
ning back towards Szechuen, and General Wang had been shot by his 
superior officer. I recalled that, in January, dapper General Wang 
Tsan-hsii had boasted that he would send the Japanese scurrying back to 
Hankow. And in May, before the Japanese offensive had begun, he had 
added that he was also going to exterminate the Storm Guerrilla Detach- 
ment in the enemy rear. 

My trip from Ichang through the swirling Yangtze gorges and on to 
the upper river was made under a perpetual air-raid alarm. The winter 
fogs that hover over the upper river in winter and early spring had lifted, 
and the Japanese had begun their annual blitz raids. Every town and 
village along the way had already been bombed, and the British flag 
painted on the decks of our steamer certainly would not protect us. The 
lower decks were packed with wounded, and everyone's nerves were 
ragged from the tension. 

As our boat approached the Chungking pier, a Chinese official and I 
became engaged in a violent argument with a young Englishman who 


insisted on defending the Munich Pact and Chamberlain, declaring with 
all the ignorance of a Far Eastern Britisher: "Our old greybeards know 
what they are doing." 

We stopped suddenly, alarmed by a dull roaring noise. It turned out 
to be a series of dynamite blasts set off by men preparing new tunnels 
under the high cliffs of Chungking. Chungking was pitted with these 
deep dug-outs, some of them equipped with ventilating and lighting 
systems and capable of accommodating thousands of people. When an 
air-raid began, the city lay as silent as the dead, not a soul stirring 
except for a few soldiers ready to shoot down anyone who might give 
the enemy a signal. When the planes came at night we always heard the 
soldier guards as they fired at any flicker of light. Even after the planes 
were gone, Chinese planes roared low over the city, machine-gunning 
any light that showed before the "all-clear" signal sounded. And each 
day we saw the bloated corpses of human beings slowly floating down the 
river, drifting against junks, and being shoved away by boatmen with 
long, spiked poles. 

The Japanese planes would come over in three or four formations of 
thirty to fifty bombers each. Sometimes we would stand on the south 
shore enjoying an illusory sense of safety and watching the bpmbing of 
the northern city. When I first arrived, as many as twenty-four Chinese 
fighter planes were going up to challenge the bombers, but as the days 
passed there were fewer and fewer of these. Once I saw one solitary 
Chinese fighter turn and go after a formation of bombers coining up 
river. At such a moment I longed for the ability to write just one death- 
less poem to that little plane. 

Sometimes the incendiaries landed in the Yangtze and sent up white 
clouds of fumes and obscured our view of the northern city. We would 
hear the crackling of the fires beyond, and as soon as the ' "all-clear" had 
sounded, the people would pour from their underground havens to try 
to save the city. When the fires had died down, the whole city would 
resound with hammering and sawing as the people rebuilt their homes 
and shops. 

But life in Chungking went on. The Industrial Co-operatives held a 
national exhibition of home industries from every part of the country. 
I lectured before clubs in the northern city and raffled off war trophies to 
buy medical supplies. The wife of the British Ambassador took a theatre 
and gave a performance of "Snow White" to raise money for Madame 
Chiang Kai-shek's war orphans. Foreigners gave air-raid parties, and 
every foreign home on the south shore was filled with bombed-out 
people. The British Ambassador ignored the Japanese Warning to all 
foreign embassies to move to the south-shore "neutral zone", and a 
number of us sometimes gathered in his home for afternoon tea. Hie 
blasting of tunnels sounded continually; soldiers drilled and sang; 
Government institutions set up new communities out in the country; 

gangs of coolies hovered near the airdromes, repairing them after each 
raid ; and factories and arsenals hummed on. And right at the height of 
the air blitz the people celebrated the annual Dragon Boat Festival, 
gaily clad crews of boatmen covering the Yangtze and its tributaries. 

Of course the time came when the Japanese began dropping bombs in 
the "neutral zone". No one in the zone had trusted them anyway. 
When Colonel Dave Barrett, American military attach^, and I were once 
caught in such a raid, Barrett, who knew the dangers of America's 
Japanese policy, drawled :'"Wa-a-a-l, our chickens have done come home 
to roost !" 

One June night I attended a play given by Japanese captives organized 
in the "Japanese Anti-Imperialist League". About twenty young 
Japanese soldier captives under the leadership of the Japanese revolu- 
tionary writer Kadji wrote their own plays, published their own maga- 
zine, and put on plays for the Chinese population and for war prisoners. 
The day after the play was given, the theatre was suppressed by Mr. 
Chen Li-fu, Minister of Education. The plays were considered revolu- 
tionary because they showed the effects of war uppn the poor people of 
Japan ! 

Great changes had taken place in China since I had left Hankow in 
1938. Many reforms had been introduced in the Army Medical Adminis- 
tration, headed by Surgeon-General Loo Chih-teh, and the National 
Health Administration under Dr. P. Z. King had built up a network 
of free medical clinics throughout "free China". The foundations of 
socialized medicine had been laid. The War-Time Emergency Medical 
Schools, headed by Dr. Robert K. S. Lim, now had two additional 
branches, one on the eastern and one on the north-western front. Nearly 
five thousand medical officers and nurses had already been re-trained. 
Mobile anti-epidemic units trained in these schools now operated in the 
war zones, inoculating the armies and the people against epidemics, 
constructing wells, and purifying the water supply. 

But while the Chinese Government had transformed western China 
into a powerful base of resistance, and institutions of historic importance 
had grown up, these very changes had unleashed numerous reactionary 
forces. Many officials, industrialists, and landlords now looked with fear 
upon the swift growth of the Industrial Co-operatives and other institu- 
tions in which millions of men and women were learning the meaning of 
social progress and economic democracy. 

Upon arriving in Chungking one of the first things I heard was of the 
power of General Tai Li. He was said to have 150,000 uniformed men 
and 1 50,000 .plain-clothes agents under his direction. No one knew 
whether Generalissimo Chiang controlled him or he exerted control 
over the Generalissimo. Of the many reports which he had placed before 
the Kuomintang, one was a charge that leaders of the Industrial Go- 
ppejrfttives wen? '"agents of the Communist International" a charge 


which covered anything from mild liberalism to actual membership in 
the Communist Party. As a result many Chinese leaders of the Industrial 
Co-operatives had been driven out and others arrested. 

At a small dinner-party I heard a foreigner and a Chinese discussing a 
secret report said to have been given to General Tai Li by an official 
of the Chinese Red Cross board of directors, charging that Dr. Robert 
K. S. Lim was corrupt and was using Red Cross trucks to transport 
Communist literature into China. I interrupted their conversation to 
remark : "If you lived in a country with decent courts, both of you 
could be brought up for criminal libel." 

Educational institutions had become centres of witch-hunting, and two 
centres modelled after Nazi concentration camps had been established, 
one near Sian, and a smaller one near Chcngtu. In the north-west the 
major part of the most powerful group army of China, that commanded 
by General Hu Chung-nan, still spent its time keeping the Eighth Route 
Army encircled. A convoy of British relief trucks led by Edward Barger 
was allowed to distribute supplies to every army except the Eighth 
Route. General Kuo Shuen-chi, commander of the soth Army along the 
lower Yangtze, had been removed because he had refused to allow his 
army to be used against the New Fourth Army. Sporadic attacks had 
been made against the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies in many 
places, and the nation seemed to be on the brink of civil war. 

The whole atmosphere of Chungking reminded me of the terror and 
discord before the Japanese invasion. Many Chinese writers, editors, 
organizers and other intellectuals had fled to Hong Kong or were trying 
to flee. The full seriousness of the situation became clear to me when I 
went to call on Sheng Chung-ju, a mild little old lawyer who was leader 
of the democratic National Salvation Association. He was not at home, 
and his family told me that he and Chow Tao-fen, the editor and 
publisher, .had gone to protest to the Minister of War because the 
Minister had just charged that the lawyer and Mr. Chow were plotting 
an armed uprising in the city ! 

The "peace elements" in the Government, I was soon informed, were 
themselves plotting an uprising in which the Generalissimo was to be 
killed because he wished to continue the war. The blame was to be 
placed on the Communists. Another "Reichstag fire" was being planned, 
men said. Just how much of this was wild speculation, how much true, I 
could not determine, but it was a serious situation if charges such as 
these could be brought against such an organization as the National 
Salvation Association. 

Next I heard rumours that the Christian General Feng Xu-hsiang and 
a nurfibef of high Kuomintang officials who shared his liberal outlook 
were being called the "outer defence line of the Communists". Then I 
heard from two foreign women that they had been approached by repre- 
sentatives of General Tai Li to act as spies and ferret out the political 

opinions of foreign correspondents. One had accepted. The other had 
refused, and had thereafter been accused of being a "spy who slept with 
military men". The accused woman shook off the charges contemptu- 
ously ; she had extraterritorial rights. But no Chinese could have afforded 
to ignore such a charge. 

Close on the heels of these reports I heard that the Kuomintang in 
Kweiyang, capital of Kweichow Province, had accused the Y.W.C.A. 
and the local Women's New Life Movement of being Communist. One 
day as the Y.W.C.A. gathered to discuss "What is Democracy?" two 
Kuomintang officials stalked in and ordered them to go home. The 
officials announced that no meeting of any nature could be held without 
Kuomintang permission and without a Kuomintang member in the 
chair. Immediately afterwards Kuomintang officials went through the 
streets of this city during an election of women delegates to a Kuomintang 
conference and paid illiterate women ten cents each to vote for women 
whom they nominated. This incident was carried to the high authorities 
in Chungking, and they condemned it as political racketeering. 

Waves of political reaction got under way whenever new Japanese 
peace proposals were made to the Chinese Government. As a rule the 
Germans were the channel through which such offers were made, 
though Chinese of Hong Kong and a few followers of Wang Ching-wei 
one of them a high official in the Ministry of Communications in Chung- 
king always took a hand. No one believed that Generalissimo Chiang 
would consider peace until China was victorious, but the Germans 
entertained other hopes. After a German war film was shown to a 
selected group of officials, I heard open expressions of admiration for the 
war machine which was flattening all Europe. When Paris fell in the 
middle of June, admiration for the Nazis mounted. Chinese remembered 
the corruption and the maltreatment of the people of Indo-China by the 
French rulers : a Red Cross official told me that even before Indo-China 
had been occupied by the Japanese, French officials in Indo-Ghina had 
accepted huge bribes from the Chinese who wanted to get their supplies 

When the British closed the Burma Road in June, these international 
developments, combined with the British and American policy towards 
Japan, gave impetus to a powerful tide of anti-foreign feeling throughout 
China. The hatred for the British was the strongest of 
before had China been so near surrender. The Gene 
not waver, but the "surrender elements" in the 
provided with new fuel. 

I could well understand the anti-foreign feelir 
the Chinese armies had been regarded with contc 
China, they said, couldn't fight; its generals 
illiterate coolies or mere boys; its people ignd 
wounded an abomination. Some charges were 

almost all were based on a lack of appreciation of the fearful burdens 
under which China staggered. 

I was particularly affected when my own countrymen thought of them- 
selves as true friends of China or declared that they were furnishing 
China with its medical supplies. It was the overseas Chinese upon whom 
China depended for its chief medical supplies and ambulances, and in 
comparison with such aid the help of my own country was infinitesimal. 
The only help that ever reached the* Chinese wounded from America 
came through the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China, whose 
leader was a Chinese. One high Chinese official in the Army Medical 
Service told me that America had indeed recently given China a million 
dollars to buy quinine, but that American business men had demanded 
that the purchase be made through them. Accordingly they bought the 
quinine in Java, shipped it to America, re-packed it, and then shipped 
it back to China ; in the end the Chinese received about $300,000 worth 
of quinine! 

My attitude was therefore much the same as that of the Chinese. 
China was a pariah, treated with contempt or condescension, while, with 
all its internal conflicts, it was really fighting the battle for world demo- 
cracy. Many foreigners whom I knew shared aspects of my point of 
view; some shared it in its entirety. Not all the colour lines or race 
prejudices in the world could blind such people to the bitter facts. 

The American public seemed so uninformed or misinformed, or so very 
soft, that it seemed incapable effacing a situation so serious. Because of 
this the foreign correspondents feared to send out the true facts. "The 
truth?" one foreign correspondent said. "I simply don't know what the 
truth is !" So we all suffered from a kind of mental paralysis. 

Gathered in the ward-room of the Tutuila, an American gunboat 
anchored in the river in front of the American Embassy, many of us 
argued about these issues repeatedly. Sometimes there were a dozen 
people shouting at each other. China would make peace ! China would 
not make peace ! America should enter the war ! America should not ! 
And once the Belgian Charge d 5 Affaires, a Fascist, challenged another 
Belgian to a duel for calling the Belgian King a traitor. I was called an 
idealist, an illusionist, and so forth. Only when the Japanese bombers 
came over did we all realize our common danger. 

One evening while Captain Bartlett was still commander of the Tutuila 
I was his dinner guest. During the visit an air-raid alarm sounded. The 
men took up their battle stations and the Captain gave me a steel helmet 
and a life-vest and led me above, where he had only the sky for cover. 
When bombers had come I had been accustomed to falling on my face 
in a ditch, but now I had to stand out in the open. I asked the Captain 
if bomb fragments ever fell round the gunboat, and he answered that 
they, did indeed, that one fragment had cut a hole in the deck and 
another had hit the helmet of a gunner* The chief thing:, he said, was to 

note where the first bomb fell and then in what direction the bombers 
were going. 

"And if we are hit?" I asked. 

The Captain replied that in such a case we would know exactly where 
the bomb had landed ! The bombers went to Ghengtu that night, but 
never have I felt more like a rat in a trap. 

I recalled a conversation with Jack Belden, the foreign correspondent, 
who had made a short trip to the headquarters of the New Fourth Army 
while I was there. He had asked me if I was afraid of air-raids. I 
admitted that I was, and to my surprise he admitted that he was too, and 
that the fear grew greater instead of less. We both thought this fear 
might be overcome if we were permitted to fight in a few battles. A gun 
seems to absorb fear. Many Chinese soldiers had told me that when they 
first went into battle, they were afraid ; but as the fighting had progressed, 
fear had vanished. 

Jack Belden carried a copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace with him and 
said that if the names and places were changed into Chinese, it might 
easily seem like a version of the present war. He asked me who could 
write such a book on China, and I said that I thought it could be done 
only by a Chinese who had actually fought throughout the whole of it. 
But I also thought that Jack might one day write a very fine book. He 
had been with many Chinese armies and in order to reach them had had 
to use all kinds of manoeuvres to get past officials. He was more objective 
than I; he represented no cause and could stand aside and observe, 
whereas I always forgot that I was not a Chinese myself. To me the 
problems, strength and weaknesses of China seemed to be those of the 
whole world. 


As JUNE DREW to a close, and while the air blitz was still trying to 
reduce Chungking to ashes, Dr. Lim came and took me back to Kwei- 
yang, headquarters of the Red Cross Medical Corps. To get through the 
masses of trucks and people waiting to leave Chungking was a problem, 
and once on the road our trip was made under continual air-raid alarms. 
Because we were in a Red Cross car, the armed guards in the silent, 
deserted villages allowed us to whirl through and take our chances. 
We intended to take cover only when we saw planes coming directly at 
us. If we stopped for air-raids, Dr. Lim kept saying, China would get 
nowhere. An, urbane gentleman before the war, this little doctor had 
become asJbard as steel. If fear ever gripped him, a greater fear of sub- 
jection and slavery overcame it. He had tasted too much of his country's 

Dn Lft gave me a room in his small cottage and undertook to treat 


me. It was on his advice that I had refused to have my gall-bladder 
taken out in Chungking. While lying in bed, t read books from his small 
but excellent library, and when he could steal an hour from his number- 
less tribulations, I would outline for him what I had read. He had little 
time for reading anything but reports and medical books, and to his 
organizational and administrative duties he had added another which 
would occupy many months : he was writing a series of medical manuals 
with which he hoped one day to equip every Army medical worker in 
the field. His light always burned until the small hours. The Medical 
Corps had grown tremendously under his leadership, and ambitious 
men had already decided that it was too powerful and lucrative to 
function under a man of non-partisan democratic outlook. Political 
intrigue was hampering his work, and he was already spending too much 
of his time in protecting himself and the Medical Corps from snipers who 
were trying to use the Chinese Gestapo against him. 

My affection for Dr. Lim was very deep and my admiration even 
deeper. His education and culture were, as I have said, the best that 
British liberalism had to offer, but he was lonely in his own country and 
a stranger in England or America. One evening he told me how he had 
once set out for America to attend a scientific congress. Missing him, his 
colleagues had sought him on Ellis Island. They had found him in the 
immigration pen with a "Deloused" button pinned on his coat. 

He was a man whose mind worked in the broadest terms terms per- 
haps too broad for his age. Upon him depended in large measure the 
fate of all the wounded of China. Only his plan to re-educate the medical 
personnel of the entire Army could bring permanent relief to the sick and 
injured. But political intrigue can wreak havoc with such work and such 
a man. I was never without deep concern for his future, for he was 
tough and stubborn, determined to fight to the end. 

Japanese naval planes came up from the south each week to bomb 
Kweiyang, and before they had left, Red Cross ambulances were clanging 
and roaring down from our headquarters in the hills to bring back the 
injured. International publicity had long since revealed our location to 
the enemy, and in addition our headquarters was now connected with 
the great medical training school, hospital, and orthopaedic centre. This 
centre had been equipped and financed with British aid, but the entire 
Medical Corps still depended for most of its support upon the Chinese 
of Java. 

On July ?8 enemy naval planes made a special detour to bomb the 
Red Cross headquarters and the medical centre. After that raid when 
doctors had to operate on wounded men injured a second time and 
convalescent soldiers had to help prepare temporary shelters for the 
night Dr. Lim began plans to decentralize and scatter the wards a lay- 
out which would make medical work still more difficult. That evening 
Dr. Lim brought in a huge bomb fragment and, looking at it specula- 

tivcly, said : "Pve half a mind to make special medals of it and confer 
them on American firms that sell warmaterial to Japan.*' 

While under treatment I began work on a chapter on Red Cross work 
for Madame Chiang's new book, China Shall Rise Again, and I also began 
lecturing in Kweiyang educational institutions. On July 7, the anniver- 
sary of the war, Dr. Lim had introduced me as the main speaker before a 
conference of Red Cross and Army medical workers in the region. I 
reported on conditions in the war zones. That large hall filled with blue- 
clad men and women war-workers was an inspiring sight, and I con- 
sidered that opportunity the greatest honour that had ever been accorded 

There were now sixteen European doctors in the Medical Corps, and 
they had already been in service for almost nine months. Although they 
represented many nationalities, we called them the "Spanish doctors", 
because they used Spanish as their lingua franca and because they had all 
served in the Spanish Republican armies. The Norwegian Red Cross had 
secured their release from French concentration camps, paid their pas- 
sage to China, and maintained them while they worked as volunteers. 

These men were entirely different from any other foreigners I had met 
in China. Despite definite political differences, they were united as anti- 
Fascists. Unlike several other foreign doctors whom I had known, more- 
over, they dressed, ate, and lived like the Chinese. They saw all the 
sanitary and scientific backwardness of China, but they saw, these 
conditions in their proper perspective, and responded by shouldering 
whatever burdens they could. Sometimes they told amusing stories of 
lesser Chinese commanders who had become passionately imbued with 
scientific medical attitudes. When a D.B.S. station was erected on one 
front a commander had announced to his troops : "Now you've got. no 
right to have scabies!" 

These "Spanish" doctors had gathered in Kweiyang for another re- 
organization: the Medical Corps was changing from an old boat to a 
new one in midstream. Henceforth they were to re-train every Army 
medical worker, lecture to the troops on hygiene and first aid, build 
D.B.S. stations out of whatever material was at hand, purify wells, and 
do other anti-epidemic work. Education and more education was the 

The loss of Indo-China and the Burma Road had cut off China from 
the outside world. The Red Cross was beginning to manufacture some 
of its own disinfectants, and the National Health Administration had 
established small factories to manufacture what drugs and equipment it 
could, but the armies would have to depend more and more on prevention. 

By early September it had become clear that I could not recover from 
my chronic illness if I remained in China, so Dr. Lim put me on a 
Red Cross truck headed for Kweilin, capital of Kwangsi Province. The 

medical unit would go on down to the Indo-China front, where heavy 
fighting had now started, and I would fly over the Japanese lines to 
Hong Kong. 

Our truck made its tortuous way up the new roads through the 
mountains of the south-west. There were no guard walls at the edge of 
the road, and we often looked down into deep gorges into which other 
trucks had tumbled. Again we travelled in a perpetual air-raid. Ex- 
hausted, emaciated troops, most of them suffering from night blindness 
and malaria, were moving to the rear, and fresh troops were marching 
in endless lines towards the front. Thousands of good trucks, all intact 
but unable to get gasoline, were stranded along the highway. Frequently 
we passed through towns and villages that had been destroyed by raids. 
One afternoon we halted to aid the injured in a town which had just 
been attacked and was still smoking ; but by dawn the next day we were 
on the road again. 

I stopped at Kweilin to lecture and broadcast, much as I had done in 
Kweiyang. But Kwangsi Province was very different from other sec- 
tions of China. It was still a democratic stronghold, permitting free 
speech, Press, and assembly. Writers and Editors driven out of other parts 
of the country had gathered here to continue their work. I hoped that 
after treatment in Hong Kong I might return to Kwangsi and go to the 
Indo-China front. 

One evening as I finished a broadcast over the Kweilin radio I found 
a Japanese, who had broadcast before me, waiting to speak to me. He 
was not being guarded, and was living and working as a Chinese. We 
spent an evening at an outdoor tea garden, and I found him a remarkable 
personality. His name was Seisaku Shiomi, and he spoke three foreign 
languages Chinese, English, and French. Up to December 1938 he had 
been secretary in the Japanese Consulate in Hanoi, Indo-China, and 
at the same time in the pay of the Japanese Secret Service. He had been 
captured by Chinese troops while on a spying tour of the frontier. For 
one year he had refused to help the Chinese in any way. During this 
time, however, the Japanese revolutionary writer Kadji, who worked in 
all the camps for Japanese war prisoners, had given him bopks and talked 
to him, and he had finally decided to participate in the anti-Fascist 

"My entire life's training," he said, "was as a diplomatic official. I 
used to believe that I was blessed to have been born Japanese, and I 
thought my Government was doing the right thing in invading China. 
I could not help seeing that we Japanese were the only men of colour 
who had hot been conquered by the white race. The militarists of my 
country were able to use this fact to inspire us with the belief that we 
were fighting for the liberation of all coloured people. But since I have 
studied and thought, it has become clear to me that our own militarists 
merely wish to take the place of the white imperialists. It took a long 

time for me to change my whole life's training and take a step which the 
Japanese brand as treason. However, I see that the rulers of Japan, like 
those of most other countries, merely use the common people as sources 
of wealth in time of peace and as cannon fodder in time of war. Now I 
broadcast in Japanese to the Japanese troops and people, trying to 
explain what I believe. I work for real peace and justice, and my mind 
is at rest." 

He spoke quickly, nervously, as if torn by internal conflict. He kept 
assuring me that he was "happy", but I could hardly believe that a man 
of his training could slough off the outlook and attitudes of a lifetime. 
Before we parted, however, he asked me to tell his story wherever I went, 
because the Japanese had denied that it was the voice of their consular 
official that was coming over the air. "Tell everyone that you have seen 
and talked with me," he urged. And then I almost believed him. I 
wondered what I would have done under similar circumstances. 

That same night official friends took me by car to the airdrome, and 
we stood in the pitch dark and watched a small red gleam come out of the 
east high over the dark rim of the mountains. It was a special plane which 
brought bank-notes from Hong Kong. I was the only passenger going 
oyt. A truck rolled up to load the plane with a ballast of stones, and a 
little later we soared into the night and began nosing our way through 
total darkness over the Japanese lines towards Hong Kong. 


T T H R E E i N the morning I looked down from the plane on Hong Kong, 
its soft lights reflected in a dark, slumbering sea. Surely no scene on 
earth is so lovely. On such dark nights, I knew, Chinese junks slid silently 
across the water to hidden coves along the Kwangtung coast where 
scores of under-nourished coolies picked up cargoes and began trotting 
towards the far-off interior. So it had gone since Canton had fallen in 
tate 1938, and so it would continue until Hong Kong fell to the enemy. 

We landed in a flood of lights. The polite British official who received 
tne refused to search my suit-case ; he paid my taxi fare and sent me to the 
luxurious Peninsula Hotel, where a room had been reserved for me. Once 
in the room, I moved about gingerly. It was clean and spacious, and 
provided with thick carpets, easy-chairs, and sparkling mirrors. It 
seemed a shame to dirty the spotless linens and the white bathroom ; and 
the soft bed kept me awake most of the night. 

But the morning brought my friend Mrs. Hilda Selwyn-Clarke, wife of 

the Medical Director of the Hong Kong Government. We crossed the 

bay, but before going to the palatial Queen Mary Hospital, where I was 

to be treated, she ^sked me if there was anything I wished or needed. I 

M (China) 353 

said I wanted some ice cream ; so at eight thirty in the morning we went 
into a deserted hotel lounge and confounded the waiter by ordering ice 
cream. Hilda then suggested that I get some nightgowns; we bought 
two another useless luxury, when all is said and done. Later we had 
occasion to stop at a pharmacy, and that to me was almost unbearable, 
for it was stocked with far more medical supplies than I had seen in any 
Chinese army on the whole front. Its glittering cases overflowed with 
beauty accessories for women. All that I needed was a toothbrush, 
paste, and some soap. 

The superintendent of the Queen Mary Hospital stared at me, but 
kept his composure until he had settled me in a beautiful room over* 
looking an azure sea ; then he fled to Professor Paul B. Wilkinson, chief 
medical consultant to the Hong Kong Government, who had been 
retained to direct my treatment. Waving his arms in the air, the super- 
intendent declared that an impossible-looking woman dressed in a 
"boiler suit" had just blown in. Dr. Wilkinson tried to comfort him by 
assuring him that, despite these disadvantages, I possessed a "fascinating 

In the months that followed, I argued with Dr. Wilkinson up and down 
Hong Kong, but we still remained friends. He was one of those English- 
men who become very patriotic when they find themselves in a far-away 
place. He was a recluse, or liked to think he was, living in a world of 
classical literature and medical research, quoting Latin and Greek at the 
drop of the hat, and winning the fear of his medical students. Before 
coming to Hong Kong a few years before,, he had been stationed in 
isolated regions of Africa, where he had seen and treated only Negroes. 
He seemed to like them much better than officials or Americans, whom 
he regarded as semi-savages. The Negroes, he always said, possessed 
great pride, dignity, and sensitiveness. Before coming to him for treat- 
ment, the women would always bathe and make fresh little aprons of 
green leaves. 

To the rich Chinese the professor was indifferent, but for the Chinese 
poor his heart was filled with tenderness and respect. Though the Hong 
Kong police had forbidden me to speak, write, or otherwise take part in 
public life, Dr. Wilkinson one day surrendered the rostrum of his lecture 
theatre to me, and I spoke to the medical students of Hong Kong Univer- 
sity about the conditions and needs of their wounded countrymen at the 
front. The doctor followed this up by urging graduates to join the 
medical services of their armies. After I concluded, he quoted from 
Shakespeare in the suavest of British accents^ and then added that he 
thought my speech, had made no more impression on the,students than 
water on a duck's back ! We got three volunteers out of the lot. 

After treatment in the hospital, I took up residence in the country 
home of Dr. Ronald O. Hall, Bishop of Hong Kong. The Bishop and I 
soon became fast friends. Like my friend Hilda, he was engaged in every 

kind of relief work for Chinese soldiers and civilians. He was a devour 
Christian who tried to live a Christ-like life no easy task in a British^ 
colony founded on race and class discrimination. From my viewpoint, it 
was an utter impossibility. Along with Hilda and her husband, Dr. 
Percy Selwyn-Clarke, he campaigned -against discrimination, and tried 
in vain to force through such social reforms as an eight-hour day and a 
minimum wage. But the trade unions which might have supported him 
had long since been suppressed by the British rulers. 

Bishop Hall once told me of a typical incident which he had witnessed 
while on a trip which the Japanese had permitted him to make to Canton. 
A poor Chinese woman with a baby on her back had stepped off the boat 
before him. She carried one precious can of powdered milk for her baby. 
Noticing it, a Japanese sentry had ripped it from her hand, opened it 
with his bayonet, and scattered the powder in the mud at her feet. Then 
he let her pass. 

I was soon a member of a small but very active group of British men 
and women engaged in relief work for China. Hilda, the leader, was 
secretary of the Foreign Auxiliary of the Chinese Red Cross, and thus the 
agent through whose hands went the supplies sent by British relief groups 
and by the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China. She Was also 
secretary of the China Defence League (Madame Sun Yat-sen was the 
Chairman), and without her help the League could never have functioned. 
As the wife of a high official, she might easily have been content to give 
her patronage to organizations. But she came from the British labour 
movement, and thus did not scorn to do her own typing, telephoning, 
and similar work. In her office I met every kind of relief worker from 
Hong Kong and China among them a representative of the American 
Red Gross who drew a salary so fabulous that it was almost sickening. 
Officials called Hilda utterly unscrupulous words which, in the mouths 
of such individuals, always amused me. Some men held that she twisted 
the Governor, Sir Geoffrey Northcote, round her finger. When it came 
to her aims, Hilda was certainly as tough as nails. 

Though Hong Kong considered itself a British colony and, as such, 
was neutral in the war, it was in reality a part of China and was rent by 
the same problems as the mainland. All the distortions of the Chinese 
Revolution were reflected in the whirlpool of its life. It teemed with 
eqprmously wealthy bankers, both Chinese and foreign, and among 
other circles in its midst was that of the four hundred Chinese millionaire*, 
families who had fled to it for shelter. Some were on their way to 
America, where, I later heard, they posed in high society as representa- 
tives of China! Had they been its representatives, there would havp been* 
no China. When hundreds of thousands of poor Chinese refugees tried! 
to fin{l shelter in the colony, thousands of them had to sleep in the streets 
or ob the roofs* Poor refugee girls some no more than fourteen 
learned to wait in the shadows of doorways and then offer themselves to 

men leaving restaurants, hotels, or theatres. Policemen and porters alike 
collected a percentage of the earnings of these girls. 

In the great hotel lounges every afternoon well-to-do Chinese and 
foreigners gathered for cocktails, intrigue, business, or just to while away 
the years until Chinese soldiers made it possible for them to return to 
their old hunting-grounds. Chinese agents of Wang Ching-wei moved 
quite openly among them, never lacking money. Hong Kong was thick 
with such men. 

Once, for example, a friend of mine rose hastily from a tea-table and 
disappeared through a door behind me. A one-time opium Czar and 
leader of the Green Gang of Shanghai had entered the room ! He was 
now on the Board of Directors of the Chinese Red Cross. He and several 
members of his gang had become anti-Japanese, although other members 
still worked for the enemy. Yet even he was less obnoxious than those 
two or three other members of the same Red Cross Board who were 
trying to drive Dr. Robert Lim from his position and make room for one 
of their own henchmen. I knew that such men were interested only in 
their own power and prestige, and not at all in the wounded. I never hid 
my opinion of them, even when they stood before me thereby virtually 
ending my chances of returning to China. 

My friends, both foreign and Chinese, were sometimes called the 
"political-literary set". We were united in work for China, but, like 
other Chinese political groups, were torn by bitter ideological conflicts. 
Take the case of the two British Communists in my "set". At the begin- 
ning of the war in Europe, one of these young men had gone to Eng- 
land to join the R.A.F., but learned upon arriving there that the 
British Communist Party considered the war imperialist. So he came 
wandering back to Hong Kong, his passage paid by a relief organiza- 
tion. I personally could not see how on earth any Englishman, Right 
or Left, could want to do anything but fight when threatened by a Nazi 

One day one of these Englishmen, finding me reading Tom Wintring- 
ham's book on tactics, announced that Wintringham was a traitor. 
Wintringham had commanded the British Battalion of the International 
Brigade in Spain, but when the Battle of British had begun and British 
cities were being destroyed from the air, Wintringham had volunteered 
to teach the Home Guard the military tactics he had learned on the 
Spanish battlefields. He rejected the Communist Party line, and for his 
trouble was called a "traitor". For similar reasons John Strachey, the 
political economist, was called a contemptible idealist. 

We got echoes of the American Communist Party line (it was the same 

as the British) from American travellers. True, the Communists had 

" fought the Fascists in Spain, and they had added their voices to those of 

'trade unions, liberals, and other Americans opposing the sale of war 

materials to Japan*. But when I heard these men talk about the war, I 

could sec little objective difference between their policy and that of the 
America Firsters and the various religious pacifist groups. I agreed that 
the Soviet Union should be defended against attack by any capitalist 
Power which included the Nazis but why advocate a "peace" with 
Germany? I regarded all these peace movements in America as poisons 
drugging the American people and keeping them totally unprepared to 
meet the coming attack. But what was wrong with the American people 
that they permitted this? 

Even the most obtuse person in China and Hong Kong knew that the 
Japanese intended to attack the colony, and that this would be merely a 
small episode in some greater strategy. The Japanese had boasted that 
they were going to do it, and their Tanaka Memorial had even outlined the 
plan of attack. They had been steadily moving troops southwards 
through Indo-China. They had prepared Siam for occupation. Their 
activities in Burma had for years been so effective that all but two 
Burmese nationalist papers were pro-Japanese. When the Burma Road 
into China was first opened, Japanese influence had been so great that 
the workers of Rangoon had declared a general strike against the ship- 
ment of arms to China. Japanese agents had been working for years in 
Afghanistan, India, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines. Though 
the Indian National Congress supported China and was anti-Japanese, 
many Indian terrorists were connected with Rash Behari Bose, an 
Indian who had for years live'd in Japan. 

So we knew the Japanese attack was coming. One Japanese naval 
officer in Hong Kong had in fact gone so far as to remark that it would 
not be necessary to fight for Hong Kong, because it would merely fall 
into Japan's lap "like a rotten fruit". Another Japanese official informed 
the American Consul-General that his Army could capture Hong Kong 
simply by destroying the water system. Nor did the Japanese confine 
themselves to mere talk. They began occupying the entire Kwangtung 
coast about Hong Kong, cutting it off from the mainland. They took 
thousands of Chinese by force and used them in building new motor 
roads along the coast, and in constructing a new airdrome about five 
minutes' flying distance from the island. 

The British Government had spent tens of millions of pounds on Hong 
Kong defences and were still constructing new military highways 
through the mountains in the New Territories. Buildings were sand- 
bagged and special guards stopped all motor-cars passing through 
Kowloon and searched them. But the Japanese knew every gun emplace- 
ment, every ammunition dump in all the gulleys, every twist in the 
military highways, and far too much about the new underground shelters 
on which the British were spending a fortune. 

Just when a conjunction of international developments would enable 
the Japanese to attack, we did not know, but we felt they were not quite 
ready, because many Japanese still remained in the colony. Some 


American business firms had already received orders to close down and 
leave, and a printing-house began printing thousands of death certificates 
for the Government. One day a Chinese friend anxiously informed me 
that he had seen a number of Japanese carrying all their possessions to a 
steamer. I went with him from one Japanese shop to another to see 
whether all the rats were really leaving the sinking ship. They were not. 
Apparently the time was not yet ripe. 

Another Chinese friend said: "Watch the National City Bank, and 
when it moves out its reserves, take the next plane to China." 

Hong Kong's air force consisted of just three old planes. At night they 
droned over the islands at a hundred miles an hour in order that the 
searchlight squads might practise on them. Sitting on the terrace of 
Norman France's home (he was Professor of History in Hong Kong 
University), we used to watch the planes and say : "The air force is out 
tonight all three of them." Professor France, a member of the artillery 
section of the Hong Kong Volunteers, was later killed in the fight for 
Hong Kong as was one of the British Communists who had opposed 
the war, but who had fought when the Japanese attacked. 

British authorities estimated that their forces would be able to fight 
for about three months ; the more optimistic expected that British naval 
support would have come up from Singapore by then. And perhaps 
America would have entered the war by that time and naval help would 
have come from Hawaii, the key to the Pacific. The American Pacific 
Fleet, based on Hawaii, could hold Asia, and then, of course, there were 
our bases in Alaska and the Aleutians. . . . 

Some Englishmen argued that Hong Kong was of too little importance 
to warrant either British or American naval help. The colony seemed to 
be nothing but a sacrificial outpost intended to detain and absorb 
Japanese troops that would otherwise be thrown against more important 
objectives. I heard one English doctor argue that thousands of people 
would be killed for the sake of British Imperial prestige. But what 
should Hong Kong do? Should it lie down and do nothing, or should it 
be returned to its rightful owner, China which also could not defend 
it? A great many Englishmen and Englishwomen including Professor 
* France and the Communist and many other men who died for it cared 
little or nothing for the whole British Empire ; they were passionately 
interested, however, in the preservation of the British Isles. They re- 
mained in Hong Kong out of a sense of duty and because it would have 
looked cowardly for them to leave. While most British women and 
children were evacuated to Australia and a few to the Philippines, some 
remained in Hong Kong, getting medical training in anticipation of a 
Japanese attack. Among the latter was my friend Hilda. She and her 
husband, together with a number of my other friends, were later taken 
prisoner by the Japanese. , 

While some of the British were alert to the danger, they themselves had 

an Achilles 9 heel in their own racial and class prejudices. For instance, 
British women and children were evacuated from the Colony, while 
Chinese, Indian, and Eurasian women and children were not, despite 
the fact that they were British subjects. To help support the evacuated 
English women and children, the Hong Kong Government imposed a 
sales tax on certain goods which everyone, rich and poor, had to buy. 
There was no income tax on the wealthy of the colony. Of course many 
of the English themselves among them my friends challenged such 
shameless actions. 

Often, moreover, I heard British officers make contemptuous references 
to the Chinese as a "third-rate Power" ; when the Japanese fought the 
British "they would learn what real fighting meant" ! There were a few 
hundred Chinese in the Hong Kong Volunteer Corps, fine men, but 
British soldiers refused to bathe in the same pool with them. Not only 
this, but the British had not considered it worth while to negotiate with 
the Chinese Government for the joint defence of Hong Kong. Over an 
official dinner-table I once argued with a British officer who declared 
that had the Chinese been worth anything, they would have held or 
recaptured Canton. Had the British been worth anything, I thought, 
they would not continue selling scrap iron to Japan as they were doing, 
right down to that moment. One British General struck new depths 
when he remarked that Sir Robert Craigie, known as pro-Japanese and 
an appeaser, should have been stationed in China instead of Sir Archibald 
Clark Kerr. 

I moved about in many circles, often like a fish in alien waters. The 
Hong Kong police still forbade me to speak or write, and when I argued 
with them, they declared that Hong Kong was neutral and a fortress, 
and to permit me to speak would be a violation of neutrality. To the 
Japanese I was persona non grata and was one of many foreign journalists 
and broadcasters on the Japanese blacklist. We were to be treated as 
Chinese belligerents in case of capture. 1 

The ban against me was eventually lifted, but only after the Chinese 
representative in the Hong Kong Government threatened to take the 
matter up to the House of Commons. Even before this, however, I had 
been lecturing in what my friends conveniently called "private gather- 
ings". These gatherings took place before students of Hong Kong , 
University, relief organizations, the Sino-British Cultural Association 

1 Mr. J. B. Powell, editor of the China Weekly Review, informed me of two or 
three Japanese blacklists. Over sixty Chinese newspaper men were booked 
for death and many were assassinated in Shanghai. One list of American 
names Powell, Gould, Allcott, Allman, Mills, and Starr was compiled for 
the Japs by the Chinese traitor Tang Leang-li, who had the help of an American. 
Edgar Snow, the author, and H. G. W. Woodhcad, the Englishman, were also 
op a blacklist, as was my own name. Arrested in Shanghai after the fall of 
Hong Kong, Powell was imprisoned under such barbarous conditions that his 
feethftd to be amputated. 

and, on one occasion, in the home of Captain Royal Leonard, pilot for 
the American Aviation Corporation. 

Hong Kong was, however, a small place for one engaged in "criminal" 
activities. During one of my "private gatherings", just as I was ardently 
urging Chinese university students to demand daily military training,